Pierce takes helm of United Way of Southeast Arkansas

The United Way of Southeast Arkansas introduced their new slate of officers Wednesday and incoming President Dwayne Pierce called for continuing the organization’s streak of reaching its fundraising goals.

“For eight straight years we have hit out goal, and 17 out of the last 18 years,” Pierce said. “We want nine in a row and 18 of the last 19 to be our goal.”

Pierce, a regional executive for Arkansas Blue Cross-Blue Shield, replaces outgoing President Janice Acosta.

“It’s because people are willing to give that we are successful,” Pierce said. “We’re doing this for the people, and as we move on, let’s have a successful year.”

Before turning over the gavel to Pierce, Acosta said the 26 agencies supported by the United Way of Southeast Arkansas helped 30,000 people.

“Our success would not have been possible without the help of the volunteers, staff, the board of directors and a lot of others,” Acosta said.

Outgoing campaign chairwoman Carla Martin thanked everyone involved for “their hard work and efforts” to meet the fall 2012 goal of $1,280,000.

On Feb. 21, United Way officials said the campaign to that point had raised $1,280,495, and another $31,000 has been raised since then.

“We had an awesome campaign this year,” Martin said.

Marty Casteel, chairman of the Nominating Committee and Senior Leadership Council, recognized Lula Gray, the wife of the Rev. H. O.Gray, who was unable to attend the annual meeting because of health issues.

Casteel described H.O. Gray as “an institution” and said he has served the United Way “for decades.”

In addition to Pierce, other officers for 2013-2014 are: Campaign Chairman Steven Brown; President-elect Donald Hatchett; Secretary Larry Kennedy; Treasurer Al Lowery; Communications Chair Stephen Lasseigne; Allocations Chairman Rick Pierce and Past President Janice Acosta.