Clock ticks down on United Fund goal

By Bill Colvard -

The United Fund of Surry has reached 94.1 percent of its fundraising goal, and campaign officials are doubling down on efforts to meet the goal in the final 10 days of the campaign.

“We are reaching out in different ways via social media and following up on anyone who has shown interest in giving,” said Will Sheppard, 2018-19 campaign chair. “If anyone wants to do a quick campaign at their office or make a direct donation, we can still do it. We just want to make sure we have crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s. We are going to leave no stone unturned to meet our goal.”

United Fund has raised $447,000 of a $475,000 goal. The campaign ends March 31.

“It’s important for people to know this goal is the goal for a reason,” said Merry Craig Boaz, United Fund executive director. “We don’t arbitrarily set some lofty goal. The goal is the amount it takes to fully fund the agencies with the funds we have allotted to them. If we don’t reach the goal, that amount has to be cut.

“The needs of Surry County are tremendous. But so is the support. That’s what makes United Fund so successful, the people who have stepped up. We want to applaud them.”

“The United Fund of Surry is an organization that fundraises for 26 local member agencies,” said United Fund consultant Christina Plitt. “Our goal is to help raise money and awareness in Surry County so our member agencies can dedicate the majority of their time to helping others. Although some of our member agencies have strong fundraising boards of directors, most of our member agencies have employees that have the professional skill set to offer the services they provide, not raise money to cover their budget.”

A contribution can be made to the general fund and the monies touch all 26 agencies. Or, if the donor is more directive in his/her giving, they can allocate their contribution to the preferred member agencies.

“This is attractive to many of our Surry County small businesses that are bombarded with donation or sponsorship requests,” said Plitt. “Through the United Fund of Surry, they can give to all of the agencies with one contribution.”

The following leadership levels are available: Granite Society, $5,000 and above; Pinnacle Club, $2,500-4,999; Blue Ridge Club, $1,000-2,499; Leadership Club, $500-999.

At this time, if a donor prefers, a pledge can be made now and paid monthly or quarterly over a year’s time.

Contributions stay local. The United Fund has decided to remain an unaffiliated local organization so that money raised in Surry County stays in Surry County.

Yearly, all United Fund agencies must provide information on their operating budgets and how their funds are being used. A Budget and Allocations Committee meets with and reviews each agency to determine their funding allocation for the upcoming year. The United Fund makes every effort to ensure that the donations are being put to use responsibly.

United Fund of Surry looking for help to reach goal

By John Peters -

The United Fund of Surry County is 13 percent off from meeting its $475,000 goal – putting a three-year streak of meeting its goal in danger with a month to go.

More importantly to United Fund officials, if the agency falls short on its goal, that means it will likely have to cut back on the money it can award to its 26 member agencies, cutbacks which can affect members of the community who can least afford to lose help.

The United Fund reported Monday that it had reached 87 percent of its goal, meaning the agency has raised about $413,000 thus far in a campaign that ends March 31.

“We are still waiting on a few workplace campaigns to be turned in, but are still projecting that we will have a $50,000 shortfall to make up,” said Merry Craig Boaz, United Fund of Surry executive director. “We are currently reaching out to businesses that have not yet previously engaged in the campaign to make up the projected shortfall.”

By this point last year, the United Fund had raised 97 percent of the goal and went on to exceed that goal by $15,000, allowing the organization to fully fund all its 26 agency commitments.

”Several factors have impacted this year’s fundraising efforts, the largest of which has been a decrease in large corporate grants from businesses that have been long-standing supporters of the United Fund,” the agency said in a statement regarding the effort. “Some of the decreases can be attributed to changes in how these grants are awarded; from a structure based on service area population to an employee gift-matching structure.”

Another factor has been a decline in donations from Surry County residents who work in Forsyth County.

”These donations, collected by the United Way of Forsyth, have to specifically be designated back to Surry County for them to be received by the United Fund so that it can be distributed to local agencies,” the Surry County group said.

While it has been a challenging campaign year, there have been several highlights including new corporate gifts from Northside Mortgage, Pike Electric, Home Instead Senior Care, and United Plastic, according to Boaz.

“We are extremely grateful to the businesses that have recently opened their doors to hear our message and engage in the campaign,” she said. “The United Fund campaign is an excellent way for local businesses to support the community. Gifts from their company or their employees can be allocated to support 26 local agencies or designated to a specific agency of their choice. ”

Not meeting the annual campaign goal means that the United Fund will have to re-evaluate funding decisions and will not be able to fund agencies at projected levels this year.

“Since agencies rely heavily on these funding projections for their operating budgets, we are doing everything that we can to make sure that we do not have to make reductions to allocations,” Boaz said.

The last time that the United Fund had to reduce allocations to member agencies due to not meeting the campaign goal was 2015.

“Yokefellow Ministries relies heavily on the funding from the United Fund of Surry to help provide food for those in need in Surry County,” said Jan Varney, Yokefellow Ministries board member and volunteer. “If our funding is decreased, that is less goods that can be purchased and distributed.”

Local businesses can still help by reaching out to the United Fund to discuss options for corporate gifts, workplace campaigns, and fundraisers. People are encouraged to check with their employers to see if their company matches donations and to follow up to see if their donations are coming back home if they work out of the county.

United Fund has $475,000 goal

By Tom Joyce -

That deja vu feeling of having done something before surrounds the latest United Fund of Surry campaign, which has the same goal as last year — $475,000 — and organizers hoping for the same successful result.

In late April, United Fund officials and supporters celebrated a $490,000 total raised for 2017-2018, but that slate has been wiped clean with the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign.

It kicked off last Saturday with the annual Downtown Rocks & Runs event, and now fund organizers are buckling down for a major push to provide vital financial support to 26 different member agencies serving the community.

Those range from rescue squads to a homeless shelter and scouting organizations.

Music festival planned

The 2018-19 campaign already is eyeing one obstacle compared to last year, according to Merry Craig Boaz, United Fund executive director.

“We’ve had some changes in grant monies that we have gotten for years,” Boaz said Friday, which has left the United Fund trying to make up the shortfall.

“So one thing we’re going to do this year is a music festival on Oct. 6,” she said.

The Granite City Rhythm and Brews event will be held at Veterans Memorial Park, featuring multiple musical groups, food trucks and beer trucks.

“It’s sort of a two-fold thing,” Boaz explained. “It’s another opportunity to fund-raise, also it’s a different kind of event — it’s something new we’re trying.”

Boaz says the music festival reflects the need for the United Fund to be more creative in its approaches. “The way people give is really changing,” she added, which requires new ways to reach the public.

Work sites a key

Aside from special events to raise money, the United Fund will be relying on its traditional methods.

“We still place a lot of emphasis on our workplace campaign,” Boaz said, which is the lifeblood of the United Fund each year.

About 60 percent of the monetary goal is achieved through that measure.

For the 2017-18 fundraising effort, 35 individual workplace campaigns were initiated throughout the county. More than 1,600 people participated in those efforts, either through designating a portion of their paychecks or by making one-time gifts.

Boaz specifically mentioned Altec Inc., a relatively new industry in Surry County which has become a key supporter of the United Fund.

Altec received the Pat Woltz Way to Glow Award for the campaign for mounting an employee effort demonstrating the most creativity, participation and commitment to the community. This resulted in a tripling of the number of employees participating and a 130-percent increase in total pledges from Altec.

“Those kinds of workplace campaigns are tremendous for us,” Boaz said Friday.

Civic clubs and other organizations also are targeted with the same idea in mind: that more funding impact can be made as a group rather than singularly, although the United Fund certainly welcomes any individual contributions.

In addition to contacts made by United Fund representatives, anyone interested in participating in workplace or other efforts is urged to be proactive by reaching out to Boaz or Will Sheppard, the chairman of this year’s campaign.

“I would encourage any local business or company to contact me in reference to a workplace campaign,” Boaz said.

This can be done via email at

Those wishing to support the United Fund also can call its office at (336) 789-3087 or direct general inquiries to

The 2018-2019 campaign will run until the end of March.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Downtown Rocks & Runs for the 11th time

By Bill Colvard

United Fund of Surry kicked off its fundraising campaign with the 11th-Annual Downtown Rocks & Runs 5K, 10K and Kid’s Fun Run on Saturday.

“This is the most participants we’ve ever had,” said Merry Craig Boaz, United Fund executive director. “There were 242 participants.”

“This event includes the 26 agencies that benefit from United Fund, 53 sponsors, donors both individual and corporate, and the community. This is a good opportunity for them all to come together. That doesn’t normally happen.”

Almost half of the runners who pre-registered were from outside Surry County, with several contingents coming from other states, according to Boaz.

“People are driving up here for this run. It’s a tourism event as well. I didn’t know that before.”

Unlike most of the local runs which are completely contained on the city’s greenway system, Downtown Rocks and Runs is partially a road race, with runners taking to city streets.

Downtown Rocks and Runs 5K, 10K and Kid’s Fun Run and the Mayberry half-marathon, 5k and 10k are the only races that utilize city roadways, according to Darren Lewis, director of Mount Airy Parks and Recreation.

Patrol Lt. Jeff Inman of the Mount Airy Police Department was directing traffic entering Main Street from Rockford Street into the lane of Main Street that was not occupied with the finish line for the 5k and 10k as runners passed by in one lane and cars in another.

“It would be more of a hazard if we closed the streets,” said Inman. It’s better to alleviate some of the traffic. If we closed all of the streets, traffic would back up so far. We have to allow some of them through.”

Inman estimated half of the 10k course used city streets and about one quarter of the 5k, with the rest on greenways.

“Having the rescue squad here really frees things up for us,” Inman added. “Their volunteers are everywhere. At every corner.”

One of the streets in the race course is known by some runners as “the defining moment.” Others call it simply “The Hill.” Boaz called it “French Fry Hill.”

The street in question is the block of Independence Boulevard from Riverside Drive to Renfro Street which is indeed quite a hill. And a big McDonald’s sign indicates there are French fries at the top.

Ben Royster said, “You see it coming for half a mile before you get to it.”

“You know the end is coming, but you have to get through it,” added Mark Royster.

Angie Cagle, a United Fund board member said, “We had complaints about the hill. But we took a survey and most people wanted to keep it. So we did.”

“It’s a great course,” said Mark Royster.

After all the running was done, and medals were about to be handed out, Boaz said, “You didn’t just make it up French Fry Hill, you made it up quickly.

“You didn’t just run for yourself or your family. You also ran for the 32,000 people who will be helped by United Fund of Surry this year.”

In the 5k, Erick Ramirez-Ramos, Dobson, 17, placed 1st with a time of 17:27, Samuel Haynes, Cana, Virginia, 20, placed 2nd with a time of 18:03, and Tyler Barrett, Hillsville, Virginia, 21, placed 3rd with a time of 18:40.

Among female runners in the 5K, Sydney Haynes, Cana, Va., 19, placed 1st with a time of 21:06, Alison Bryant, Elkin, 39, placed 2nd with a time of 23:12, and Chloe Fountain, Hickory, 17, placed 3rd with a time of 24:01.

In the 10k, Ediberto Crisanto, Rock Hill, S.C., 25, placed 1st with a time of 36:01, Austin Eaton, Ararat, Virginia, 15, placed 2nd with a time of 39:37, and Nathan Beamguard, Hamptonville, 46, placed third with a time of 40:19.

Among female runners in the 10k, Alicia Rider, Winston-Salem, 37, placed first with a time of 44:49, Nicole Harrison, Mount Airy, 32, placed 2nd with a time of 50:49, and Samantha Monk, Mount Airy, placed 3rd with a time of 51:09.

Detailed stats can be found at

Sheppard tapped for United Fund campaign

A local business leader with long-standing roots in Surry County and extensive involvement in the community will lend his expertise to the United Fund of Surry for the upcoming campaign.

Will Sheppard, president of Surry Chemicals Inc., has been named as the 2018-19 United Fund of Surry Campaign Chair. In this role, Sheppard will lead the effort to raise $475,000 in Surry County this fall.

“As a person who grew up in Surry County and is now running a business and raising a family here, we believe that Will is an excellent representative to carry our message that we are Better Together,” the United Fund said in announcing Sheppard’s selection. “By funding and supporting the network of agencies in our area, we are not only improving the lives of those directly served, but every family in our community.”

Sheppard and his wife, Christie, have been married for 13 years. They live in Mount Airy, raising their children, Anne Rachel, who is 9, and Pennson, 5.

Sheppard was raised in Pilot Mountain and graduated from East Surry High School, where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 545. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 with a degree in management and society and returns often for Tar Heel football games.

“Will is a very active member of the community,” the United Fund statement said. He is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Airy, serves on the Board of Directors of the Surry Arts Council, and is on the Board of Directors for Mount Airy Downtown. He also enjoys coaching tee-ball and softball for Reeves Community Center.

“It is my honor to chair this year’s campaign and I look forward to working closely with the board as well as reaching out to the member agencies, individual donors, and local companies. Being a Boy Scout and serving on the board of the Surry Arts Council, I understand the impact the UFOS campaign has and I am eager to get started with what I believe will be a great year of fundraising.

“I also look forward to extending the reach of this campaign to all of Surry County as the benefits of the UFOS stretch county-wide.”

“Will’s leadership, our supportive donor base, and Surry County workforce is a recipe for the best campaign yet,” said Merry Craig Boaz, executive director of the United Fund.

The United Fund 2018-19 campaign kicks off Saturday and will run through March 31

Catrina Alexander, New Board Member

The United Fund of Surry welcomes Catrina Alexander to the Board of Directors. Catrina and husband Mel reside Mount Airy and have two children, Jackson and Macy Smith. Catrina has lived in Mount Airy since graduating from Western Carolina University in 1991. She worked for Surry County from 1993-2005, until which time she became the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Mount Airy. In March of 2018, Mrs. Alexander became the Career Development Coordinator for Mount Airy City Schools and is excited to continue to serve students and families. She serves as the Foundation Chair for Surry Sunrise Rotary and on the planning committee for the NC Women’s LeadHership Conference. She was honored to receive the Greater of Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award for 2016.

Catrina has been a long time supporter of the United Fund through workplace campaigns held through the City of Mount Airy. In addition, she participated in the United Fund by representing the Reeves Community Foundation, one of the United Fund's 26 member agencies. In 2015-2016, Catrina served as the United Fund of Surry Campaign Chair and raised over $480,000. Catrina's knowledge of the community and diversity of experience with the United Fund will be a strong addition to the United Fund Board. 


United Fund exceeds $475,000 goal

Businesses have come and gone and workers have weathered numerous changes impacting the local economic landscape over the years, but one constant has been the desire to help one’s fellow man through the United Fund of Surry.

This certainly was the case with its 2017-2018 fundraising campaign, according to an announcement at a Wednesday awards luncheon of the organization.

“We have a great deal to celebrate this year,” United Fund Executive Director Merry Craig Boaz told about 120 people gathered in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church in Mount Airy.

The goal for the annual campaign was $475,000, which was 5.5 percent — or $25,000 — higher than the previous year. United Fund contributors responded with a total of slightly more than $490,000.

“It is the most we have raised in the last six years,” Boaz said of that figure. It was achieved with nearly $30,000 in donations during the final stages of the campaign, continuing a string of recent successes for the United Fund of Surry.

“I’m happy to say we’ve passed the goal for the third year,” Dale Draughn, 2018 president of the United Fund’s governing board, said during Wednesday’s luncheon.

“This is a day of celebration and recognition,” Draughn added regarding the lunchtime event’s purpose of savoring what has been accomplished and spotlighting those who helped make it possible.

All the money raised through the United Fund remains in the local area to provide vital financial support to 26 different member agencies serving the community, from rescue squads to a homeless shelter and scouting organizations, along with many others.

“To be a small county in rural North Carolina, we are tremendously blessed,” Boaz said of the array of organizations that aid people in need in many ways, which the United Fund has under its umbrella. “Our job is to support them.”

For the 2017-2018 fundraising effort, 35 workplace campaigns were initiated throughout the county, with 1,600-plus people participating in those, either through designating a portion of their paychecks or by making one-time gifts.

“The support that our workforce in Surry County provides for member agencies is astounding,” Boaz said. She mentioned that in some cases, those who have been aided by those agencies when down on their luck have given to the fund as a way of paying back.

“I’ve had donors who do not have an address or zip code in Surry County,” Boaz said. “They just work here.”

Special awards

Those attending Wednesday’s luncheon included representatives of agencies receiving support from the United Fund to maintain their operations, as well as campaign contributors. The latter includes business, school, municipal and county government, church and other entities.

• Special recognition was given Wednesday to the recipient of the Pat Woltz Way to Glow Award, named for a late local resident who was an artist and United Fund board member. That honor this year went to Altec Inc., which met the award’s criteria by mounting an employee campaign demonstrating the most creativity, participation and commitment to the community.

This resulting in a tripling of the number of employees participating and a 130 percent increase in their total pledges.

• Also presented was the Dave Green Achievement Award, established last year in honor of a longtime supporter of the United Fund who led a workplace campaign at Renfro Corp. for 15 years.

This year’s recipient of that award was Shelia Davis-Welker of Surrey Bank and Trust, who has led the campaigning there for the past 14 years which has helped generate more than $133,000 over that period. That has been achieved through efforts including organizing a Shred Day fundraiser along with a local Boy Scout troop.

• “Hometown Heroes” was another group receiving special recognition Wednesday, which includes businesses or organizations that achieved 100 percent employee participation in the United Fund and an increase in giving over last year.

They are BB&T Blue Ridge Burke, Surrey Bank and Trust, Rogers Realty and Auction Co., Carter Bank and Trust and Surry Friends of Youth.

• Chairman’s Choice awards went Wednesday to four recipients that mounted strong workplace campaigns, including BB&T Blue Ridge Burke, North Carolina Foam Industries, Mount Airy Parks and Recreation and Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Inc. (YVEDDI).

Since 2004, when the United Fund started using its present tracking software, BB&T Blue Ridge Burke’s campaigning has raised more than $136,000 with an employee base averaging just 17. Those individuals have donated time as well as money.

In addition to employee contributions, the United Fund receives a substantial grant each year from North Carolina Foam Industries.

For the most recent campaign, Mount Airy Parks and Recreation pledged the highest amount of any city government department and holds two fundraisers each year to benefit the United Fund.

For its part, YVEDDI, an organization that provides programs for seniors, children, victims of domestic abuse and transportation services in the area, revamped its campaign for 2017-2018. This initiative that included allowing employees more giving options led to more than $4,500 being raised. 

United Fund making final push

In football terms, the latest United Fund of Surry campaign is inside the 10-yard line and needing only a few more yards to hit paydirt.

“The United Fund is nearing the end of our campaign,” a spokeswoman for the effort, Christina Plitt, announced in reference to a March 31 target date, “and is very close to meeting our goal.”

This year’s campaign objective is $475,000, which is 5.5 percent higher than last year.

“The goal was increased by $25,000,” United Fund Executive Director Merry Craig Boaz said Tuesday of the real-dollar figure involved.

All the money raised remains in the local area to provide vital financial support to 26 different member agencies serving the community, from rescue squads to scouting organizations and many others.

“The campaign goal was increased this year due to a rise in requests from our member agencies and projections by the (United Fund) board of directors that Surry County had the capacity to reach this goal,” Plitt added.

“We have met the goal for the past two years and felt that this was achievable, especially with continued support from our larger partners including Renfro, NCFI and Reynolds American.”

Industry support key

Despite the loftier sum involved, such donors have risen to the occasion in-kind, according to Boaz, who is serving her first year as United Fund executive director, the person who coordinates various donor networks leading toward the ultimate goal.

“Of course, being my inaugural year, I was quite nervous,” Boaz admitted Tuesday. But everything has come together well to this point.

“The most impressive thing for me was our industry,” Boaz said of support by area companies, some of which have aided the United Fund through decades of economic and other upheaval.

For the present fundraising effort, 35 workplace campaigns were held throughout the county, with 1,600-plus people participating in these campaigns either through designating a portion of their paychecks or by making one-time gifts.

The money given through these workplace efforts comprises 54 percent of the total amount raised through the campaign.

Corporate grants and gifts have totaled $157,000 (35 percent), and contributions from the public at large, about $53,000. The remainder has been generated through miscellaneous fundraising activities.

Boaz says the development of a new donor base in Pilot Mountain also has paid dividends.

At last report, the United Fund of Surry had achieved $472,429.

“This puts us at 99.5 percent of the total needed and only approximately $2,500 short of reaching our goal,” summed up Plitt.

Boaz said a late-hour push for individual or industrial donations is under way to get the campaign over the top.

Contributions can be made online at or mailed to P.O. Box 409, Mount Airy, NC, 27030.

Clear need

By reaching the campaign goal, the United Fund will be able to fully supply allocations to its 26 member agencies. “We are hoping that with one last appeal to the public, we will be able to ensure that happens,” Plitt emphasized.

The need for such support is evident, based on statistics showing the impact of the campaign in 2016:

• Programs aid by the United Fund of Surry helped more than 25,000 people in the county;

• The five rescue squads supported by the United Fund responded to 3,306 emergencies;

• Also, 1,265 uninsured patients received medical care and more than 9,000 prescriptions were filled;

• About 2,500 people were provided with counseling and mentoring services;

• Another 162 children and adults with disabilities participated in enrichment programs;

• A total of 84,280 meals were served;

• With housing an increasing concern, 446 children and adults were provided with a safe place to live;

• More than 1,300 seniors participated in support programs.

Robin Testerman of Children’s Center of Surry County said the United Fund makes a major difference for that organization.

“The Children’s Center provides services to our most vulnerable children and families and Surry United Fund provides funding that makes a difference and impacts lives on a daily basis,” Testerman said in a statement. “The dollars they raise go directly to the children we serve and make it possible for our kids to have a better future.”

This was echoed by Stephanie Tuttle of Surry Friends of Youth.

“The annual contribution from the United Fund of Surry allows Surry Friends of Youth to continue offering free services for children in the community,” Tuttle said in a statement. “The United Fund of Surry reaching their goal impacts Surry Friends of Youth’s ability to continue advocating the needs of youth through community service, supportive counseling and mentoring.”

10K Marks 10th Rocks and Runs

The United Fund of Surry’s annual fundraising campaign kicked off in impressive fashion on Saturday.

Saturday morning 237 runners, one more than in 2016, hit the streets of Mount Airy to take part in the United Fund’s Downtown Rocks and Runs event.

Merry Craig Boaz, executive director of the United Fund, said runners had what some might consider a special treat at this year’s Rocks and Runs. Her organization commemorated the race’s 10th year by adding a 10k event. In the past only a 5k was held.

For the past decade, the race has served as the kickoff event for the annual charity campaign. The United Fund reached its fundraising goal of $450,000 in 2015 and 2016.

Boaz noted her organization upped its expectations in 2017, however, setting a goal of $475,000.

Boaz said those funds are distributed to 26 member agencies, which include local food banks, the homeless shelter and number of area rescue squads. Many of those organizations sent volunteers to work the event on Saturday, performing roles such as handing out water to runners and controlling traffic.

With $125 cash prizes for the male and female winners of each race, Boaz mentioned the race attracted runners from as far away as California, Ohio and Indiana.

The $500, which made the cash prizes possible, was donated by Advanced Electronic Services, a company based on Riverside Drive in Mount Airy.

However, support for the event didn’t stop there. Boaz said about $17,000 in sponsorship dollars for the event was collected. With costs related to the event set at only a few thousand dollars (offset by the registration fees of the participants), Boaz expected the proceeds of Saturday’s event to surpass what was raised the year prior, about $18,000.

“We are very greatful for all of the support,” said Boaz. “This has been a great kickoff for our campaign.”

Though the most visible portion of Saturday’s event for Mount Airy-area residents took place on the streets of the city, Rocks and Runs also included a “rocks” event, too.

While runners were invited to attend a concert at Old North State Winery after the race in past year’s, this year Boaz decided to team with another organization to provide the music part of Saturday’s fundraiser.

Those who participated in the races received a $5 discount on a ticket to Reevesfest, a music festival which took place in Elkin on Saturday. Six bands were scheduled to play at the event.

“We thought it was a great way to involve the Elkin community,” explained Boaz.

While Saturday’s race may have been a nice start, the United Fund will have a long road to $475,000, and Dr. Amy DeVore and Julie Marion are chairing the campaign and leading the efforts to get there this year.

Both ran in Saturday’s race.

“It was wonderful,” said DeVore, who noted she believes the campaign is off to a great start.

“I’m really hopeful we will meet our goal,” she said. “I’m excited to see what the year will bring.”

“This town has always shown a lot of support for these organizations.”


Downtown Rocks and Runs adds 10K in Tenth Year

Andy Winemiller | The News 

For the 10th year, a running event will kick off the United Fund of Surry’s annual fundraising efforts.

On Saturday, the United Fund will host the 10th-Annual Downtown Rocks and Runs. In the past, the race has raised as much as $17,000 toward the United Fund’s fundraising campaign.

According to Merry Craig Boaz, the organization’s executive director, Rocks and Runs will celebrate its decade-long tradition by adding a 10k running event.

In the past only a 5k has been held.

Boaz said as of Monday afternoon about 150 runners from as far away as Ohio, Indiana and California had registered to run in one of the event’s two races. In 2016, the run drew 237 participants, and the United Fund is on pace to play host to more runners in 2017.

“Race registration is ahead of where it was at this time last year,” explained Boaz.

Boaz said she hopes many local residents will take advantage of the race and sign up this week or on race day.

Of course, there is also a “Rocks” portion of the event, and Boaz said something new is in store in that realm too.

In the past, Old North State Winery has played host to bands. Those who ran in the race also gained entry to the concert. However, this year, race participants will receive a discount on a ticket to Reevestock, a musical festival which will be held on Saturday in Elkin.

Boaz said the move is a great way to involve Elkin in the annual kick-off to the United Fund’s fundraising efforts.

Reevestock begins in 3 p.m. on Saturday, and the day’s lineup includes a half-dozen groups.

Registration fees are $30 for the 5k competition and $40 for the 10k. There are also team challenges. Those looking to register for the event may do so at the event website,, or on Saturday morning.

Race-day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. The 10k race begins at 7:45 a.m., and the 5k will kick off at 8 a.m. A kid’s fun-run is scheduled for 8:45 a.m., and awards will be handed out at 9 a.m.

Prizes such as bags and socks will go to top teams and runners. The top runners in each race will also receive cash prizes.

The race will begin and end on Main Street near the Post Office and Mount Airy City Hall. B-Dazzle Productions will be providing entertainment for participants and spectators.

Boaz said the United Fund provides funding to 26 member agencies ranging from local rescue squads to food banks. Many of those organizations will be on hand providing support for the event.

She noted Rocks and Runs is only the beginning of a long campaign to raise funds for those agencies. In the past two years, the United Fund has achieved its fundraising goal of $450,000, but this year the bar has been set at $475,000.