Hope Fund asks for online votes to win Safeco grant

By Ryan Ottney

August 13, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Earlier this year, more than 11,000 votes were made at Walmart online to support the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, of Portsmouth, to win a grant for their operations. Now the program is asking for that same swelling of support, to help them win another grant from Safeco Insurance.

“This is open to agents who represent Safeco. They started with 100 applications, and if the principal employees in your agency are active in a charity you can nominate that charity for a $2,000 award,” said Mark Hunter from Hunter-William Insurance Agency in Portsmouth, who also represents the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund.

Named in the memory of their son, Mark and Virgie Hunter started the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Powerpack Program in 2010 with 120 students at the Portsmouth City School District. Today the program has grown to serve nearly 500 students in nine local school districts. The program provides each student with five pounds of food to take home for the weekend.

Of the 100 applications submitted to Safeco, Hunter-Williams Insurance Agency was among the 53 “Make More Happen Award” winners for its volunteer service and received a $2,000 donation for the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund. From those winners, 23 finalists were chosen for a chance to receive an additional $10,000 in the Safeco’s online contest.

Earlier this year the Hope Fund won 11,000 votes and finished first in a national Walmart online voting campaign, and won $20,000 for its cause. Now Hunter is hoping the public will continue to support their program by voting again, daily, in the Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Campaign.

The nonprofits supported by the top four vote-getters in the online event will each receive $10,000.

Voting is available now through the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund website (www.stevenshopefund.org) and their Facebook page. Visitors can vote, for free, once a day to support the program and help them win the Safeco grant. Hunter warns that users have reported difficulty voting on mobile devices, such as cell phones. To be sure all votes are counted, he asks that people try to vote using a desktop or laptop computer.

“If they were really counting all of the people who were trying to vote, I think it could be a totally different story and I guess I didn’t realize how many people do that kind of thing through their phones,” Hunter said.

Voting ends at 1 p.m. EST on Monday, Aug. 19, and with less than a week to go Hunter doesn’t know the exact standings but said he knows the Hope Fund is trailing somewhere between 7th and 9th place. This is an increase from the week before, he said, but they still need a lot of daily votes to make it into the top four.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.