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United Way launches campaign: Hollie Claiborne named director

Press Photo by Linda Sailer United Way campaign chairperson Nancy Walter, left and United Way executive director Hollie Claiborne speak about the campaign on Tuesday in Dickinson.

United Way of Dickinson has launched its 51st campaign with volunteers delivering packets to businesses and Hollie Claiborne joining the staff as executive director.

It’s been a learning curve for Claiborne, who started work Sept. 21.

“I never realized United Way helped so many people,” she said. “I’ve always been for helping people, but my job entails helping the whole community.”

She was surprised at the many volunteers it takes to run a successful campaign.

“I knew there were volunteers, but didn’t realize there were so many for United Way,” she added.

Campaign chairperson Nancy Walter has been introducing Claiborne to the work of United Way.

“I’ve been with United Way for multiple years,” Claiborne said. “It’s the self-reward of helping people.”

She described Claiborne as an enthusiastic and approachable person.

“If she met some stranger needing help finding a home, clothing, whatever, she’d be there and with a smile,” Walter said.

Claiborne grew up in Dickinson and graduated from Dickinson High School in 2005. She recently became a single mom with four children.

“I have used United Way agencies when I was struggling,” she said.

Walter has spoken to various groups about United Way.

“I say if you’ve never had to use the agencies, you are so blessed,” Walter said. “Then there’s Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts… you are giving to such good causes.”

She said the United Way fund drive was organized so that local organizations could come together for one campaign, allowing them to concentrate on their services rather than raising money.

The campaign theme is, “Our Community Needs Us,” and the goal is $285,000 based on review of agency requests.  Last year’s campaign raised more than $247,000. The funds are distributed to 18 agencies that fit into one of United Way’s building blocks — education, income and health.

Individuals may pledge through a payroll deduction or make a donation on the website,  Donations also can be dropped at the office at 240 Second St. W.

As the funds arrive, the total is posted on a United Way thermometer located on the railroad train station in downtown Dickinson.

United Way was organized in as the United Fund of Dickinson in 1961. The name was changed to United Way of Dickinson in 1972. Since the first campaign, more than $4.25 million has been reinvested into the community.