By DELANIA TRIGG
Register Staff Writer
The board of directors of Cooke County United Way announced Tuesday the purchase of the former Gerald Colton building located at 114 East Main Street in downtown Gainesville.
The building purchase was made possible by a charitable gift from the J.W. Winger Estate in memory of his son, Tommy Winger, Cooke County United Way executive director Angie Hare said.
"The Winger estate trustees approved the use of the funds and noted that it was a perfect use of the money as well as a good business decision for the United Way," Hare said.
The structure is set to be designated the Tommy Winger Building.
Hare noted the purchase couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Only a month ago, we were discussing the need for more space,” she said. “Then one month later we own a building!”
For years, the United Way had rented two offices in the Gainesville Housing Authority building. Hare said buying a building made sense.
“It has long been a dream of ours to someday own our own offices,” she said. “All agreed, (purchasing a building) is, by far, a better investment of the trust considering today’s market.”
Hare said no campaign funds were used to purchase the building.
“We believe it’s very important to emphasize to the public that absolutely none of the campaign funds went to purchase this building," she said.
Talks about moving the Winger Trust into the Cooke County United Way Endowment had been ongoing for several months, Hare said, adding when the Main Street property became available, the use of the funds to buy a building seemed perfectly in tune with “the giving spirit of Mr. Winger.”
Cooke County United Way president Brent Reed said he hopes the donation helps encourage others to leave a legacy of support for area nonprofit organizations including United Way.
“This is a perfect example of the importance of charitable giving within one’s estate planning,” he said. “The generosity in thought today pays out in unbelievable rewards tomorrow!”
Next year, the Cooke County United Way will mark its 60th year in Cooke County.
Neither Hare nor Reed could remember a time during the organization’s history when the United Way owned its own building.
For more information call the United Way at 665-1793, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cookeus.org.