UNITE (Union County/New Albany Initiative to Excel), New Albany and Union County’s community foundation, will award more than $20,000 to 14 organizations at the annual grant presentation and fundraising dinner on Thursday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church CLC. There is no cost to attend the dinner, however, reservations need to be made by emailing Collett Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org or texting/calling 662-316-0808.
Union County native Trentice Gooch Imbler is the speaker for this special event.
Trentice Gooch Imbler is a graduate of W. P. Daniel High School and Ole Miss.
After graduation, she served Kappa Delta sorority as a collegiate advisor, traveling to 30 states, then recruited for Ole Miss. After a brief time of recruiting, she returned home to New Albany to work in her father’s State Farm office. After one year, Trentice established her own agency and was the first daughter of a State Farm agent to be appointed an agency. Feb. 1 of this year, she celebrated her 38th anniversary with the company.
She is a past president of the North Mississippi Association of Life Underwriters, serving as the first woman president and later inducted into the Association’s Hall of Fame in 2015. She is a recipient of the Crystal Excellence award, given in honor of 25 years writing profitable business and building the State Farm brand.
Gooch was a member of Tupelo Junior Auxiliary where she was named Volunteer of the Year in 2015 and served as the Auxiliary’s Charity Ball chairman and on many other various committees.
She serves as a 30-year member and past president of the Tupelo Kiwanis Club, Tupelo Community Development Foundation Board member, Girl Scouts of America Board member and North Mississippi Medical Center Board member.
She was chosen as Parent of the Year for the Tupelo Public School District and she and her late husband, Chuck, have also supported the Association for Excellence in Education, receiving the Jack Reed award in 2009.
She married Chuck Imbler Jr., March 1991. He passed away in 2013 after an 11-year battle with colon cancer.
They have two daughters: Mallie, a senior at Ole Miss, and Carrol Trent, a junior at Tupelo High School.
Her parents are Lael and Mary Gooch. Her siblings are Terrie and Trent Gooch.
UNITE was formed as a community service foundation in 2002 under the auspices of the CREATE Foundation.
A tax-exempt charitable foundation, UNITE has as its aim to “support civic, educational, health, human service, religious and cultural initiatives which improve the quality of life for all Union County residents,” according to the organization’s literature.
The Tupelo-based CREATE Foundation issued a grant challenge to UNITE, offering a $100,000 match if UNITE was able to raise $200,000 on its own. The 24 members of the steering committee did so.
Since then, the endowment has awarded more than $300,000 to 35 local organizations.
UNITE established a UNITE Volunteer of the Year award in 2014 to recognize and honor individuals who unselfishly give of their time and resources in the community. Rheta Ann West, Bill and Linda Everett, Joyce Sumners, Betty DuVall King and Zack Stewart are previous recipients of this award. The 2019 award will be presented during the program.
Grants are awarded annually to non-profit organizations that use grant funds to improve the quality of life for residents of Union County. Since the first grants were awarded in 2003, approximately 200 grants totaling more than $300,000 have been awarded to approximately 35 organizations. Grant recipients for 2019 include Boys and Girls Club, First Choice Center for Women, Junior Auxiliary, Magnolia Recreation and Resource Center, New Albany Main Street Association, New Albany Symphony League, New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults, Pilot Club of New Albany, Union County Development Association Leadership Academy, Union County Good Samaritan Center, Union County Historical Society and Museum, Union County Library, Union County Literacy Council, and Union County Master Gardeners.
The diverse range of recipients have utilized funds to supply food and utility assistance to hundreds of individuals in need, enhance cultural opportunities in the community, aid in disaster relief, preserve the history of the community, provide a safe place for children after school and during the summer, and many other needful and worthwhile projects.
Tax-deductible contributions to UNITE from individuals, businesses, agencies, and organizations support the grant program. The Board of Directors asks that individuals consider UNITE when giving memorials or honorariums, end-of-year-giving and estate planning. A contribution to UNITE is a perpetual gift that stays in Union County. Contributions to UNITE may be mailed to P. O. Box 125, New Albany. More information can be accessed online at unitecommunityfoundation.com and you may follow UNITE on Facebook at UNITE Community Foundation.
The UNITE board of directors includes President Travis Wiseman, Vice-President Phil Morris, Joel Bennett, Bo Collins, Gary Cooper, Cathy Garrett, Mike Kirk, Moises Lemus, Dale Manning, Margaret Maxwell, Cathy McClinton, Mary Jennifer Russell, Anne Shirley, Bill Smallwood, Anne Stephens, Billye Jean Stroud and Travis Wiseman. Collett Cross is executive director.