CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Education and volunteerism make the best combination for Tennessee's future, the state's first lady, Crissy Haslam, said here Tuesday.
Haslam, wife of Gov. Bill Haslam, was the keynote speaker for the kickoff luncheon for the 2011 campaign for United Way of Bradley County.
United Way board Chairman Terry Henry announced that the 2011 campaign goal is $2.3 million. Of that amount, $902,280 is anticipated from corporations, businesses and professional groups, he said. The campaign will run until early next year, with most contributions made through payroll deductions.
Last year's goal was $2.26 million; more than $2.4 million was collected.
Nineteen organizations receive United Way funding in Bradley County.
"I think the entire country is watching Tennessee, regarding education reform," Haslam said, noting the state's key role in the national Race to the Top campaign.
She referred to the United Way's community needs assessment last year, which indicated that two top "very important unmet needs listed by the survey respondents were education for parents to help prepare their child to enter school" and "quality day-care programs."
"You are right on target," she told the hundreds gathered at the Peerless Road Church.
Haslam said the way Southeast Tennessee neighbors rallied to help the April 27 tornado and storm victims touched her heart.
"When I heard how volunteers responded to the tornadoes, it made me so proud," she said.
"Government can do some things, some good things," she said. "But we really need volunteers like you serving our communities."
Brenda Lawson and Tanya Massolini are the co-leaders of the 2011 campaign.
Lawson, president and CEO of Brenda Lawson and Associates, reminded the audience, "there are always needs"
"We have seen the devastation this year, and we have seen how the community came together," Lawson said.
Massolini, director of corporate accounting for Life Care Centers of America, reminded the audience "the gifts we give will impact the quality of life of friends and neighbors."