Loyal Contributors

Loyal Contributors are individuals who have given to any United Way for 10 years or more.  These 10 years do not have to be consecutive.  We sincerely thank our Loyal Contributors for their faithful investment and their commitment to community that helps sustain the vitality ofour mission.  Loyal Contributors are recognized in the following categories:

  • Silver (10 – 19 years)
  • Gold (20 – 24 years)
  • Diamond (25 or more years)

Please let us know who you are! We would like to know what shaped your involvement with United Way. Also, we value your opinion about our community needs and initiatives.

For more information, please contact Karen Franklin at 912.651.7715.

Featured Loyal Contributor: Karen Dove Barr

Karen Dove Barr

Courtroom or campaign, Attorney Karen Dove Barr always strives to achieve positive outcomes. To be loyal is to show firm and constant support. For over 30 years, Karen has defined the role of loyal contributor to United Way of the Coastal Empire. She states, “I give to United Way because one donation helps so many community agencies.” Many of these agencies she holds dear due to her past. Karen’s professional and personal life has led to committed support of United Way as a loyal contributor and as a volunteer. She rallies behind us as one of our greatest advocates. She claims, “I’m a bit obsessive compulsive; when I find something that works for me, I tend to repeat it.” We value Karen and love being “something” that works for her because her efforts are always working for us – the community of Savannah.

It comes as no surprise that passion for humanitarian issues is the driving force behind Karen’s lifetime careers. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she worked for the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). Karen says that, “The DFCS work drove me to become a lawyer. [It] is a big part of my life.” Since 1977, she has practiced law in our community and engaged families looking to achieve stability. Wendy Barr Corbin, Karen’s step-daughter, inspired Karen’s involvement with United Way when Wendy served as a loaned associate during the annual campaign and shared those experiences with Karen. She comments that, “When [Wendy] became a loaned [associate], I saw another side of United Way – the internal workings of it.” Following Wendy’s lead, Karen took a new chance to impact a multitude of agencies, including those she knew through DFCS by helping United Way. She understands the indispensable value that donations to the United Way holds because, “The agencies that are getting donations are more targeted in the populations they serve, and there is more control to make sure that the money is being spent with the highest benefit.”

Karen is satisfied with the results of her 30 plus years of work for United Way because, “…all of the agencies that are supported by United Way are making positive and needed contributions to the community.” She recognizes that, “All of the agencies are also funded by other sources, but I think that the United Way contributions are a stabilizing factor for a lot of the agencies.” The additional support that United Way is able to provide because of loyal contributors like Karen strengthens these organizations by directly impacting their use of funds so that the focus can stay on the mission they are fervently working to achieve. Initially, Karen was compelled to become involved in United Way to help provide the “anchor” to these organizations, but recently personal reasons have linked her passion to yet another side of our cause.

Health and wellness is a cornerstone of Karen’s life. For the past several years, Karen has donated her time in our Community Investments department by reading grant proposals for our health and wellness sector. She comments, “…it has been very interesting and informative. I have learned a lot.” Karen is committed to exercise and has even made a tradition of participating in our annual Turkey Trot with her family by her side. Although she remains active, it was not Karen’s health that weighed in on her decision to volunteer as a panelist, but rather her husband’s. Karen explains that,” I signed up for the health and wellness [sector] because my husband has Parkinson’s disease dementia, and I knew that down the road I might need to draw on some of the agencies.” The exposure to reading various grant proposals gave her confidence that United Way can give back to Karen’s life by leading her to possible solutions.

She also recognizes that volunteering on the panel means providing empathetic insight for those who could benefit from similar programs. Coincidentally, her husband called as she shared her personal story, and it is obvious that Karen illuminates every part of her life with her compassionate disposition. She enjoys nature photography and feeding the “feral kitties” at her home on Skidaway Island; but more importantly, Karen enjoys making life a meaningful experience. In her own words, “I hope that [our community] will continue to grow, and that the citizens living here will continue to help each other.” Each citizen has their own personal attachments to our home of Savannah and reasons to want each day to be better than the one before. Together, we can all contribute, advocate, and volunteer to propel our community towards a better tomorrow.

Written by Callie Martin, Student Intern, Armstrong State University

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