The Bar-Kays donate time to entertain United Way’s troops during latest meeting

Larry Dodson, vocalist for the internationally-known R&B group The Bar-Kays, treats United Way to a performance of “Grown Folks,” the band’s latest song

Also: Special visits from Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council and Enterprise Holdings bring great news to the campaign

United Way celebrated its third campaign countdown meeting with a great sense of fun and accomplishment, as General Campaign Chairman Joe DiNicolantonio had asked staff and loaned executives to “make the meeting enjoyable” last Wednesday.

The Chairman’s request was answered – in a very big way – as the team was treated to an amazing meeting, complete with donated entertainment from members of the internationally famous R&B group, The Bar-Kays.

“This has got to be the ‘funnest’ – the best campaign countdown ever!  I mean, The Bar-Kays are here! We also have to be one of the best campaigns when it comes to donations,” DiNicolantonio said. “We need to step the energy up as we head into the holiday season, and I know we will.”

(From left) Bar Kays vocalist Larry Dodson, United Way Senior Vice President of Fundraising Faye Carter, United Way General Campaign Chairman Joe DiNicolantonio and Bar Kays bassist (and United Way Loaned Executive this year) James Alexander

The Bar-Kays, from Memphis, were originally the backing band for Otis Redding and have also backed dozens of other Stax Recording artists since 1967. The band has traveled the world and in recent years entertained troops overseas. After 30 albums, the group is still standing strong and is putting out a new song, called “Grown Folks.” Bar-Kays vocalist Larry Dodson performed the new song during the countdown meeting to enthusiastic applause. (To visit the Bar-Kays online and hear more of their music, click here.)

United Way is fortunate to have the only remaining original member of the Bar-Kays, James Alexander, as part of our Loaned Executive team this year. Alexander’s son is award-winning rapper and record producer Phalon “Jazze Pha” Alexander.

Irving Calliste, Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council

United Way Board Member and Labor Participation Chairman Irvin Calliste, President of Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council, and Kristy Marter, Communications Manager for Enterprise Holdings, were also special guests at the countdown meeting. United Way President Bryce Haugsdahl and General Campaign Chairman Joe DiNicolantonio praised organized labor for its work to spread support for United Way. Calliste and Marter provided reports of how fundraising activities are producing strong results in their organizations.

Kristy Marter (Enterprise Holdings), Joe DiNicolantonio

“In our campaign, we really focused on strong employee participation,” Marter said. “We had many United Way agencies come out to our offices to help our employees ‘put a face’ on this campaign. This is the only campaign we do every year. It is very important to us because it trickles down from the top. We’re all preaching the same message,” Marter said.

Staff and Loaned Executives dressed in pink and/or wore pink ribbons as part of breast cancer awareness month, and the meeting room was also decorated in pink for the event.

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