United Way celebrates second record year in a row

united-way-logo-300x298By Riley Manning

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The United Way of Northeast Mississippi shattered last year’s record amount, raising more than $2.4 million this year, the most in the group’s 52-year history.

The United Way announced its accomplishment Friday morning, and volunteer campaign chairman Joe Estess applauded the community’s fundraising effort. He said 75 percent of pledges received came through workplace campaigns, despite corporate cutbacks and a turbulent economic landscape.

Not only did the nonprofit maintain supporters from last year, but it also added 15 new campaigns in 2013, some of which reached giving totals more than $20,000.

Robby Parman, campaign director, said the difference this year was made with eager participation.

“The key is making people aware of the need that’s out there,” he said. “Once they hear that story and know the money stays to help people here, they are really willing to give.”

One of the nonprofit’s most successful campaigns from 2013, Parman said, was the Day of Caring held last spring, in which area companies volunteered at different United Way agencies doing yardwork, helping with repairs and organization, and more.

These agencies include S.A.F.E., St. Luke Methodist Church’s food pantry and Regional Rehab.

“Surpassing our goal is exciting, but the real impact of this achievement is the help it will provide through a variety of programs and agencies throughout our community.”

Similar to other campaigns, 99 cents of every dollar raised stays within the nonprofit’s seven-county area, which contains Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tishomingo and Union counties. A committee of 130 volunteers representing the areas determine the allocation of dollars based on funding requests submitted by agencies that serve within those counties.

riley.manning@journalinc.com