KINGSPORT ‚¬ Residents and businesses have shown once again they embrace the needs of community agencies that are funded by the United Way of Greater Kingsport to enhance the quality of life in the greater Kingsport area.

The community connected the dots, this year’s United Way theme, by raising $3,549,101.25 to support 41 programs and United Way initiatives in the community. The campaign goal was $3.5 million, but the people of Kingsport didn’t stop when they achieved the mark.

Campaign leaders announced the final tally at a campaign celebration Thursday, Nov. 18, at Eastman Employee Center. Another campaign theme revolved around bartball, so Thursday’s event celebrated a Super Bowl victory for the successful campaign team ‚¬ Team United Way.

“This successful conclusion to the campaign is a touchdown for everyone in Kingsport,” said Pat Kane, 2010 campaign chairman. “I applaud the teamwork exhibited by my campaign cabinet members, who generated a remarkable result, but the real winners are the people who will be served by the programs and initiatives under the United Way umbrella.”

Community organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport, the Kingsport Child Development Center, the Kingsport Lifesaving Crew, Link House and Mountain Region Speech & Hearing Center will continue to serve the community effectively thanks to United Way funding. So will Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, the Salvation Army and Contact Concern of Northeast Tennessee.

Around $1 million in donor designations to benefit 10 other United Ways and 10 Community Chests is included in the more than $3.5 million raised.

“Kingsport is very fortunate to be a regional employer and many folks want to designate back to their home community,” said Executive Director Danelle Glasscock.

Greg Boehling, president of United Way of Greater Kingsport, said the total raised in the campaign conveys a positive message about the community.

“Today’s announcement is exciting news for everyone who believes in a high quality of life in Kingsport,” Boehling said. “It is fantastic to see the residents and businesses of Kingsport rise to the challenge once again and raise the necessary funds for these vital community organizations and programs.”

In addition to announcing the tally at Thursday’s celebration, campaign officials gave special Super Bowl “rings” to Kane and campaign vice chairman Monty McLaurin. Kane also handed off the ceremonial United Way bartball to McLaurin, who will chair the 2011 campaign. A group of commentators resembling a sports network studio team offered special post-campaign analysis.

“As we celebrate the success of this year’s campaign, we need to be mindful that next year’s campaign is not far around the corner,” Kane said. “I’m confident that Kingsport will rise to the challenge and win that campaign and remain champions.”