Reaching a New Level
Beth T. Byers, Longtime Successful
Fundraiser for United Way of Central Georgia, Brings Her Skills
and Knowledge to Macon State's Development Office
By Sheron Smith
Beth Byers, left, with MSC President David A. Bell
Photo by Sheron Smith
When Beth T. Byers went to work for the local United Way in 1982,
the agencys scope was limited to Bibb County and the annual
fundraising campaign generated about $1 million each year.
By the time she left a couple of months ago,
United Way of Central Georgias reach had extended to 14 counties
and the annual campaign was raising $5 million a year for charitable
As United Ways senior vice president for resource development
and marketing, Byers was a key member of the team that engineered
that growth. Today she is widely acknowledged as one of Central
Georgias best fundraisers.
Now, as Macon States new associate director of development,
Byers is expected to help drive a similar expansion of the colleges
private resources. Among other responsibilities, Byers will manage
Macon States Annual Campaign and expand the alumni association.
As successful as the MSC Foundation has been over the past
few years, Beth is going to help us reach the next level,
said Sue B. Chipman, Macon States director of development
and alumni affairs. She has been instrumental in raising millions
of dollars to support local organizations, and her knowledge, enthusiasm
and professionalism will be invaluable to the MSC Foundation.
Willing to Give
An Atlanta native, Byers moved to Macon 21 years ago with her husband,
Bill, whose management job with a ceramic tile distribution company
brought him to the midstate. Beth Byers went to work for Charter
Medical Corp. as administrative assistant to one of the companys
vice presidents. Charter later loaned Byers to United
Way through a special program where employees with leadership potential
were deployed to help the agency with its annual fundraising campaign.
That move led to Byers accepting a permanent position as United
Ways assistant director in 1982.
Fundraising isnt something you go to school to learn,
but I found it was something I really enjoyed, particularly because
I believed in United Ways mission to better the community,
Byers said. They say that public speaking and asking for money
are the two things people fear the most, but Ive found that
most people are more than willing to give to worthy causes when
asked, especially when they know the money stays local.
Byers skills began paying off early for United Way of Central
Georgia and continued to do so over the course of her two-decade
tenure, said Ron Watson, the agencys current president and
Beth possesses strong leadership skills in management of
volunteers and staff, Watson said. She is highly motivated
and goal-oriented and has a strong work ethic. Macon State can expect
the same. I have no doubt she will be very successful at the college.
At United Way, the annual campaign led by Byers grew 29 percent
between 1995 and 1999, from $3.8 million to $4.9 million. The amount
of money raised in the Leadership Giving portion of
the campaign increased by 85 percent over that same period. Byers
also organized the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a national United
Way leadership giving program that recognizes individuals who contribute
$10,000 or more annually. She also developed the Legacy Society
Charter Membership Drive to boost the number of planned gifts to
While Byers loved her work at United Way, the new opportunities
represented by Macon State intrigued her. After David Bell
(Macon States president) and Sue Chipman told me what was
going on at the college, it just seemed too exciting to turn down,
Byers said. With the new bachelors degree programs and
the plans to expand services in Houston County, Macon State is going
to have a tremendous impact on developing a high-quality workforce
in this area. Thats definitely something I can sell.
She is also excited by the quality of the Macon State College Foundations
23-member board of trustees, which includes some of the regions
most influential people in business and government. That is
a make it happen board, without a doubt, Byers
Byers devotes most of her free time to her family, including daughters
Vanessa, 17, Alex, 15, and Catherine, 13, all Monroe County public
school students. Byers said she had always thought if she ever made
a career move, it would come after her youngest daughter graduated
from high school.
But you cant plan opportunity, and thats what
it came down to, she said. Macon State is a great opportunity.