Alabama Power Foundation donates grant to United Way of Etowah County


Photo: Pictured from left, Alabama Power Eastern Division Vice President Terry Smiley, United Way 211/First Call for Help Program Director Ruth Moffatt, United Way 2020 Board of Directors Vice President of Community Building Jackie Edmondson, Alabama Power Eastern Division Business Office Manager Tony Smith and Alabama Power Community Relations Manager Spencer Williams gather for a photo while social distancing at an Alabama Power grant presentation.

By Katie Bohannon, News Editor

The Alabama Power Company Foundation gifted United Way of Etowah County a $100,000 grant on Thursday, October 8, with the hopes of providing some assistance during a difficult time.

United Way experienced multiple obstacles this year with the combined loss of Goodyear and the COVID-19 pandemic – two events that affected their current campaign. In the past, Goodyear served as a major participant in United Way drives, contributing $200,000 in previous campaigns.

With the removal of such a significant partnership and the employee layoffs, business closures and hourly cutbacks due to COVID-19, United Way Executive Director Joanne Hightower understood that the organization that helps others needed a little assistance itself. Hightower applied for a grant from Alabama Power.

Alabama Power Eastern Division Vice President Terry Smiley joined  Alabama Power Community Relations Manager Spencer Williams, United Way 2020 Board of Directors Vice President of Community Building Jackie Edmondson, United Way 211/First Call for Help Program Director Ruth Moffatt and Alabama Power Eastern Division Business Office Manager Tony Smith for the check presentation last Thursday. Edmondson commended United Way’s partnership with Alabama Power, noting the company serves as one of the community’s biggest supporters.

“Alabama Power always steps up to the plate,” said Edmondson. “They make sure we’re all taken care of – not only with money, but also with volunteerism, manpower and resources.”

“When Joanne applied for her grant, obviously Mr. Smiley supported it,” said Williams. “Mr. Smiley was extremely key in helping us get resources to put into the community even before this. We were working with some of the agencies because they had no choice but to cut. Tony [Smith] and I were extremely excited that the foundation was willing to give this gift. It’s less than half of the actual impact, but we’re hoping this will go along way toward allowing United Way to continue to fund those agencies, and allowing those agencies to continue to do the work necessary today.”

“We’re really pleased to be able to support United Way of Etowah County,” said Smiley. “Your mission of helping people in need (and Etowah County) is so important, and it ties into our mission in terms of elevating people that we have the privilege to serve.”

United Way’s mission to improve lives through mobilizing the power of caring individuals coincides with Alabama Power’s mission to elevate its community. Together, the organizations form a strong alliance that strives to promote the health, wellness, education and financial security of all residents in Etowah County. Through acquiring and utilizing the most beneficial resources available, United Way tackles the challenges that arise throughout its community, putting its people’s livelihoods first and foremost. With the help of reliable partners like Alabama Power, United Way can continue serving its citizens – not only in times of crisis, but whenever a need presents itself.

“Strong communities have strong nonprofits,” said Moffatt. “In disaster, you can physically see all of these groups that rally together to help alleviate the effects of the crisis. VOAD, long term recovery committees, crisis clean up – all of these different organizations come together. Nonprofits do that every day. They’re the unseen disaster preventers. We look at those areas in our community of unmet need and try to wrap solutions around them. During the time that I’ve been here, that’s something that I’ve learned.

“We’re really blessed to have a strong United Way here in Etowah County, with strong agencies that provide services in the community. We all have that common goal: looking for that unmet need in the community. Receiving that grant funding is huge when you think about losing a campaign with Goodyear of over $200,000. That $100,000 is a huge blessing, because it will hopefully allow the agencies to still serve…and they have been serving.”

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