UNITED WAY EXCEEDS GOAL
What: United Way Annual Awards Banquet.
When: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18.
Where: Stennis Center on Main Street.
For more information and reservations: Contact the United Way of Greater Lee County at (601) 841-9133.
By Eileen Bailey
The 31 agencies dependent on the United Way of Greater Lee County for funding can breathe a sigh of relief now that the nonprofit organization has exceeded its 1996 goal of $1,210,000.
As of Thursday afternoon, donations and contributions to the United Way totaled $1,211,265, which is $1,265 above its goal. Debbie Woodrick, director for the United Way of Greater Lee County, said she expects that figure to be even higher as contributions from several sources continue to come in.
“It (the campaign) has gone really well and I am extremely pleased not only by the contributions that have been made but by the attitude of the volunteers,” Woodrick said. This year more than 1,000 volunteers helped with the campaign through a variety of services. “They (the volunteers) have worked hard to get us where we are,” she said.
Scott Reed, chairman of the fund-raising committee for the United Way, said he was relieved the goal was met. According to Reed, this year the goal was the largest in the United Way’s history. Last year, the United Way met its goal of $1,175,000.
The goal that is set is based on the needs of the agencies served by the United Way. “There was a lot of pressure to raise the funds because I knew that if we didn’t raise the money someone was going to be affected by it,” he said.
Most of the funds for the annual campaign came in September, when the campaign began, and in October and November, Woodrick said. She said that a campaign extending into the months of December and January is not uncommon. “This has been a truly good year for us,” she said. “We are excited about it. It makes you feel good to know that the organizations will get 100 percent of what we pledged to them.”
To celebrate reaching and surpassing its goal, the United Way will host its annual Awards Banquet on Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stennis Center on Main Street. The cost to attend is $13. Awards and recognition will be given to those organizations and individuals who helped with the campaign.
Also at the banquet will be the announcement of the Outstanding United Way Volunteer. This award is the J.G. Berry Award, named after a Tupelo man who was one of the founders in 1961 of the Lee United Neighbors. The Lee United Neighbors later became what is known today as the United Way of Greater Lee County. Last year’s recipient of the award was Guy W. Mitchell III.