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United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou to close November 1
from Staff Reports - NEWS
October 3, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

NATCHEZ, Miss. — The following press release was issued Monday announcing the departure of the United Way from the Greater Miss-Lou area:

The United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou, Inc. will be closing in the near future. Last September, to forestall that potentiality, a “Community Forum on the Future of the United Way” was held to discern the views of the Miss-Lou community regarding its willingness support this valuable asset to our region. The goals of the Forum were to outline the financial challenges facing the agency and to gauge the level of community and volunteer support to keep it closing its doors permanently. Community support was timid, at best, and after many attempts by the board of volunteers (the agency has been operating without a paid staff or central office for the past 24 months), the primary goal of having enough overall support to continue operating simply was not met.

The decision to close this chapter of the United Way, that has been a beacon of hope and support for persons and organizations in dire straits since 1954, is a very difficult one. The United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou has been an important organization supporting a number of local social services and health related agencies (“partnering agencies”) that strive to meet the needs of many area citizens in seeking low cost housing, education and workforce training, employment, health care services, youth recreation opportunities, among others. The 14 partnering agencies (list below) deliver services that help children and youth succeed, that strengthen and support families in need, and, that promote independence and economic self-sufficiency. While we could continue on as an all-volunteer organization, the funds generated in the last few yearly campaigns have led the United Way board of directors board to realize that allowing our chapter to be merged with larger chapters from the surrounding areas, like Vicksburg and Alexandria, would benefit our partnering agencies. They will have access to greater resources to continue their own valuable missions.

Our partnering agencies make a positive difference for persons and families in need, especially when the local economy is weak, unenployment high, and when federal, state and local governmental assistance programs face severe reductions in funding. The current partnering agencies supported by the United Way are: Adams County 4-H; Adams County CASA; Red Cross; Catholic Charities; Guardian Shelter; Guardian Sexual Assault Center; Habitat for Humanity; Natchez/Adams County Council on Aging; Natchez Falcons Youth Club; T.M. Jennings Little League; CENLA Foster Grandparents; and the Concordia Parish Council on Aging.

In the absence of a local United Way agency in the area, the board of directors of the United Way of the Miss-Lou strongly urges donors to contribute directly to those local agencies. The United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou will not accept donations after November 1, 2017. Current donations in hand will be distributed to partnering agencies on a formula basis. The funds raised in the Miss-Lou will stay in the Miss-Lou. Last minute donations may be mailed to PO Box 1446, Natchez, MS 39121

The board of the United Way will be informing patrons, supporters, stakeholders, governmental, civic and faith group leaders, business owners, representatives of local non-profit organizations, partnering agency representatives, the regional media and the general public that the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou will close its doors on November 1.

On behalf of the United Way board, we wish to convey our sincerest thanks to current and past United Way donors for making a difference in the lives of persons and families that relied on our partnering agencies for assistance, comfort, and, in most cases, hope for a better future.

Mike Gemmell. Natchez resident




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