By Sandi P. Beason

Daily Journal

TUPELO - Pledges from Franklin Corp.'s employee campaign have pushed United Way to more than 80 percent of its $2 million goal.

Melinda Tidwell, United Way director, said employees of the Houston-based furniture manufacturer pledged $81,600. That give the campaign $1.64 million in pledges.

"Last year, they did $53,000 and they were hoping to do $55,000 this year," she said. "Franklin had an outstanding campaign."

United Way works through area employers to solicit pledges from employees through its annual campaigns. Money raised is then divided among qualifying nonprofits as grants.

Tidwell said 25 employers have not yet reported pledges, but "we're a little ahead of where we were last year at this time."

Within the past week, Sara Lee employees raised more than $8,000, Hunter Douglas saw an 11 percent increase and United Way received a corporate gift from FMC. Wal-Mart, including its distribution center and stores, is traditionally a significant contributor, but has not yet reported.

So far in this year's campaign:

- Nonprofit agencies are at $53,464 pledged, 92 percent of their $58,000 goal.

- Health care agencies so far have pledged the most, $402,594.

- Several divisions have met or surpassed their goals, including businesses, direct mail, educational agencies, health care and small businesses.

For more information about United Way or to donate, call 841-9133. Contact Daily Journal reporter Sandi P. Beason at 678-1598 or sandi.beason@djournal.com

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