Giving pays off for Delaware donor [video]

 Gary Dowlin in his brand new 2014 Kia Soul (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Gary Dowlin in his brand new 2014 Kia Soul (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

A dedicated United Way of Delaware donor was handed a set of keys to a brand new 2014 silver Kia Soul on Thursday.

“Why me … it’s unbelievable,” said Gary Dowlin, who is a driver for the United Parcel Service.

Dowlin has donated to the United Way of Delaware for the past 17 years, despite the struggling economy.

“I always wanted to make a difference and try to give back to the community, helping out as much as I can,” he said.

Dedication from donors like Dowlin motivated the nonprofit’s leaders to partner with Kia of Wilmington and Auto Team Delaware two years ago. Together, they offered an incentive to new and existing donors. Donors who increased their annual contributions by $52 would have their names entered into the drawing for a new car.

This year’s campaign brought in more than $570,000 from nearly 3,000 contributors. United Way of Delaware offers services in education, income and health.

According to United Way, Dowlin’s employer has given more than $1 billion to the organization since 1982 and many of the nonprofit leaders have been dedicated donors for just as long.

“I’ve been with United Way for eight years, but I became a donor 25 years ago, so I have a long passionate history with United Way and that will continue,” said Debra Armstrong of United Way.

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