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United Way kicks off fundraising for BBQ
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United Way for Dawson County kicked off its annual fundraising campaign Saturday with a barbecue, music, putt putt golf, and lots of fun.

Ive been coming for years, and its always a good time, and its so important to help others in the community, attendee Alison Gentry said.

This years goal is to raise $80,000, according to Mandy Power. co-chair for the organization.

One hundred percent of the proceeds stay in Dawson County, Power said.

Dawson County Clerk of Courts, Justin Power, has served as the groups co-chair since 2011 and said he decided to serve so he could learn more about United Way of Dawson County.

When I was asked to serve on the board, I jumped at the chance, Power said. I wanted to learn more about what organizations they supported.

Each United Way board decides where donations are spent and how they are divided among each group.

Some people have a bad taste in their mouth because United Way gives to organizations they dont agree with, but here, thats not the case, Power said, who is not related to co-chair Mandy Power. After I got on the board, and learned who the partners are and went through the allocation process, I thought, This is great, and it really opened my eyes to all the good works United Way Dawson County does.

Dawson County Tax Commissioner Linda Townley attended Saturdays event and is also a supporter of United Way for Dawson County.

I feel there are so many needs today, we need to help where we can, Townley said. We can specify what organization gets your money. If everyone gives a little, a lot of people can be helped.

People who choose to donate to United Way Dawson County can designate how they want their donation spent, according to Justin Power.

This years sponsors include Summit Industrial Construction, Medical Plaza 400/Northeast Georgia Health System, Penn Tool, and United Rentals. Saturdays barbecue was hosted at the home of Barbara and Jim Watson who reside in the Pigeon Creek subdivision.

Funds collected during the 2014 campaign will benefit WEE Books, Dawson County 4-H, Dawson County Family Connections, NOA (No One Alone), Next Generation Youth Development, Boy and Girl Scouts, St. Vincent DePaul, R.E.A.D., Rape Response, Dawson-Hall CASA program, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Childrens Center for Hope & Healing, Challenged Child & Friends, and the American Red Cross, NE Georgia Chapter.

The money stays in Dawson County, Justin Power said. Thats what I like.

Last year, the group raised $84,888. Thirty-nine percent went to partners that promote self-sufficiency and strengthen families/community and safety; 25 percent to strength-based support services for children and youth; 18 percent to domestic violence services, and 18 percent to therapeutic services for at risk children and youth services for citizens with special needs.

For a complete breakdown of funding allocations, see the graphic on our website at, click on the United Way story.