There’s an important season under way in Northeast Mississippi besides the holidays. It’s United Way season, and that means it’s time to do your part and give to this regional cause. The annual goal is ambitious – $2.6 million – but almost half of it has already been raised. Based on United Way of Northeast Mississippi’s past successes, that goal will be reached, even exceeded.

To give this year’s campaign an extra boost, and after great success last year, the United Way is bringing back the $50K Giveaway, as reported by Daily Journal staff writer Michaela Gibson Morris. Tickets will again be $100 for a chance at $50,000, and there will be 4,000 tickets available. People will have until 8 p.m. Jan. 31 to get in the drawing, which will be Feb. 14, 2020.

United Way is the umbrella fundraising organization for 64 agencies and human service programs in Union, Lee, Itawamba, Pontotoc, Tishomingo, Prentiss and Chickasaw counties. These nonprofit organizations serve 125,000 individuals residing in these counties each year, more than the population of the largest county in the region. Such a staggering impact goes almost unnoticed because services are delivered with such efficiency, without controversy, and with far too little praise.

In Northeast Mississippi, the United Way supports food pantries, free clinics, youth programs, emergency assistance, shelters, and services to aid the elderly and those with special needs among other items.

United Way is more than an annual campaign. It is on-going work involving professionals who are linked with many more volunteers, who are involved with clients and participants of all ages, races and needs.

This will be the first year agencies go through a new allocation process that agencies request funding based on specific projects and submit data to show their impact. Sixty agencies have qualified for the 2020 allocation cycle and are submitting grant proposals to address three focus areas: academic success, family stability and health and wellness, according to Melinda Tidwell, United Way executive director.

The payroll deduction plan used by United Way is an easy way to make contributions, and many businesses make a matching contribution at some level for employee participation.

The heart of United Way giving is the Fair Share pledge – the monthly equivalent of an hour’s wage. In 12 months the contributions become surprisingly substantial for almost everyone, and worthwhile causes derive concrete benefit.

The idea behind United Way is a sense and intentionality about community commitment that’s broad and sustained. Those relationships enhance the quality of life at every level for donors, providers and clients. The complete trust given United Way fundraising and agencies affirms the immense faith placed in the quality of work those agencies perform.

Since it launched in 1961, the United Way of Northeast Mississippi has had a tremendous impact and has provided fuel to so many other nonprofits to aid those in need and to make our region a better place to live.

The Daily Journal supports United Way also because it asks the same people who are its core of financial support for active personal involvement as volunteers.

We encourage you to contribute to this campaign to ensure those organizations are able to maintain their historic high levels of services.

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