United Way of Washington County hopes to raise $1.65 million

September 14, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |

HAGERSTOWN — The two men leading this year’s local United Way fundraising campaign come from a family that knows a thing or two about giving.

Paul and Dean Giannaris are the sons of the late Nick Giannaris, who was known for his work to help the community through efforts like “Christmas with Nick,” a free holiday meal at the Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway that he formerly owned.

Giannaris passed away on Sept. 28 of last year.

As co-chairmen of the 2011 fundraising campaign for the United Way of Washington County, Paul and Dean Giannaris will oversee an effort to raise $1.65 million for the organization this year.

The Giannaris brothers were at the Leitersburg Cinemas Wednesday night to kick off the campaign.

About 225 supporters of the United Way were invited to the cinemas for free hors d’ oeuvres and movies as a way to thank them for their previous support, said Addie Nardi, director of resource development for the local United Way.

Dean Giannaris said at the Wednesday event that a few years ago he didn’t know much about what the United Way does. But he became familiar with the organization through four or five organizations he has supported.

“I think that’s the big problem with the United Way. People don’t know (about the organization),” Giannaris said.

Giannaris said one of his goals as co-chairman of the campaign is to get the word out about the United Way.  Money raised for the local United Way benefits numerous non-profit groups in the county, he said.

Leah Gayman, executive director of the local United Way, said the Giannaris brothers will be perfect co-chairmen for the fundraising campaign since their family is so well-known in the community.

“This year has to be about spreading the word,” Gayman said.

The United Way’s fundraising goal for 2010 was $1.6 million, and $1.605 million was raised, Nardi said.

Reaching the 2010 campaign goal was a bit of a struggle, but a spin bike event at the Valley Mall put the organization over in its fundraising drive, Nardi said.

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