Sept. 29, 2002 – The United Way of St. Thomas-St. John 2003 fund-raising campaign got off to a strong start Saturday with 24 percent of its $650,000 goal already realized.
During a campaign kickoff and appreciation breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Resort, a total of 53 companies, organizations and individuals together pledged $155,574 in donations.
Campaign chair Steve Jones praised the generosity of the early supporters and thanked them for their confidence in the United Way. "I stand before you grateful today that, with 24 percent of the goal achieved, the challenge of raising $650,000 has been lessened," he said.
The largest kickoff donor on Saturday was The West Indian Co., which pledged $15,000. donation. It was followed by the law firm of Dudley, Topper and Feuerzeig with $12,500, FirstBank with $7,000, and five contributors of $5,000 — Bank of Nova Scotia, Caneel Bay Resort, Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Heath, Randolph H. Knight and Topa Properties.
Also making pledges at the kickoff were Banco Popular with $4,000, A.H. Riise Stores with $3,500. ADT Security with $3,000, Knight Quality Stations with $3,000, Tom Rinquist with $3,000, Karen I. Lockhart Foundation with $2,700, George Dudley and Susan Laura Lugo with $2,500, Henry and Penny Feuerzeig with $2,500, Financial Trust with $2,500, Pharmed Group with $2,500, St. John Community Foundation with $2,500, Theodore Tunick and Co. with $2,500, E. Jonathon Gjessing with $2,000, Guardian Insurance with $2,000 and Topa Insurance with $2,000.
The remaining pledges came from other community organizations, private citizens, the business sector and the board of directors and staff of the United Way.
The United Way will use the money it raises during the 2003 campaign to support 18 member agencies: American Red Cross St. Thomas-St. John chapter, Boy Scouts of America V.I. Council, Carabana Ensemble Theater Company, Catholic Charities of the V.I., Civil Air Patrol, Downstreet People Youth in Action, Dial-a-Ride on St. Thomas and on St. John, Ebenezer Gardens, Fair Haven Camp, Friends of Volunteers in Public Schools, Girl Scout Council of the V.I., Legal Services of the V.I., Lutheran Reformation Summer Program, St. Thomas Reformed Church Summer Program, Shaky Acres, Victim Advocate Program and the V.I. Institute for Teaching and Learning.
At Saturday's gathering, the United Way organization paid tribute to more than 400 individuals, businesses, organizations and government entities for their contributions and volunteer support in the 2002 campaign. Past campaign chair Susan Lugo reminded those in attendance that support for the United Way is really about people: "people who benefit from the services provided by the member agencies, and people who care enough to help others."
Four companies were recognized as 2002 Corporate Sponsors for their donations of $10,000 or more — WICO, Dudley Topper and Feuerzeig, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and Topa Equities. Receiving 2002 Outstanding Corporate Support Awards for contributions of $5,000-$9,999 were Caneel Bay Resort, Caribbean Atlantic Trading, Chase Bank, FirstBank, Knight Quality Stations, MSI Building Supplies and Scotia Bank.

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