As this year’s United Way of Greater Atlanta campaign chairman, the president and CEO of Gas South addressed luncheon guests Sept. 18 at the Douglas County Chamber 2012 Greystone Power Luncheon, which hosts the event annually.
Last year, Douglas County contributed nearly $400,000 to United Way. United Way then invested back $600,000 to such Douglas County agencies as Douglas Senior Services, SHARE House, Children’s Voice, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Communities in Schools, and regional agencies such as Boys & Girls Clubs and the Salvation Army.
The Douglas County School System, Douglas County government, Greystone Power, Metro Bank, Publix and Kroger make up Douglas County’s largest campaigns.
Greiner, who was introduced by Douglas County School Superintendent Gordon Pritz, addressed United Way’s four focuses, including education, income, health and homelessness.
He explained how the United Way brings together businesses, governments, donors, nonprofits and volunteers to address the “toughest social programs,” including early learning programs, helping keep kids in school, helping people become self-sufficient, offering job assistance, providing access to health care and reducing the number of the chronically homeless.
The Gas South executive cited how his company partnered with United Way in 2008 to help meet a community need.
He recalled he met with United Way president Milton Little to address the issue of serving customers who did not meet credit requirements and those who could not afford their gas bills.
“Gas South turned away 50 percent of customers because they did not meet credit requirements,” Greiner said. “We realized this was a social problem, as there was a large number of people in our state who were in need of gas services.”
Together, they designed a program through United Way’s 211 service and the Salvation Army for people experiencing financial hardships who were working to get back on their feet, he said.
“Obtaining natural gas is a big problem,” said Greiner, explaining that social service agencies who were assisting individuals with past due utility bills were feeling a major drain on their funds.
The result of this collaboration was the development of a “pay as you go” program, which has some 65,000 households enrolled.
“Connecting the dots is what United Way does,” Greiner said.