On behalf of the United Way of South Mississippi board of directors, I want to say thank you to our community members for your continuing support of the organization’s mission in Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River and Stone counties. Your generous donations and volunteer efforts are not only appreciated but essential to the continuation of important programs in the areas we serve. Donors and volunteers like you have helped us create a stronger, more united community. When we unite our efforts toward common goals, we can bring people and communities together to advance the common good.

I personally have been a United Way donor and volunteer since 2003. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to serve on the community impact committee and visit the agencies that receive funding thanks to the generosity of our donors. Trust me when I say that your donations are needed and are making an incredible difference in the lives of many. Children and families are granted opportunities they would not have if it weren’t for these wonderful agencies and their programs that your funding directly supports.

United Way’s mission is to improve the quality of life in South Mississippi by focusing on creating measurable outcomes in the areas of education, health and financial stability. The board and staff work hard to make this mission a reality each day. 99 cents out of every dollar is donated to local agencies in your community. The people you are supporting are local people – your neighbors. We make a difference by investing in our greatest asset – our children and their families – to create a better tomorrow today.

Our schools will be better because more of our children will be ready to learn by participating in our PreK4Ward program. PreK4Ward utilizes the “Mississippi Department of Education Early Learning Standards for Classrooms serving 4 year olds” to ensure that students leave academically and socially prepared to enter kindergarten successfully. More children will be able to read because they’ve benefited from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL). DPIL is a free 60-volume set of books that a child begins to receive at birth. Over 2,000 books are distributed each month through DPIL. These are only two of the wonderful programs available because of your United Way.

In addition to programs, volunteers spend nearly 150,000 hours each year giving back to the community through United Way’s volunteer management process and projects. One of these projects is the Day of Action. Company volunteers join together with community members to spend a day working on projects at non-profits such as stocking food pantries, cleaning up grounds, painting and repair work among other needed tasks to keep these very important organizations running. Thank you to our volunteers. We cannot say it enough.

As we continue on our journey to a stronger community in 2020, we are honored that you have chosen to join United Way of South Mississippi as a partner, supporter and friend. We welcome your feedback and are delighted to serve our communities for another year. United, we can build a brighter, stronger tomorrow.

– Melissa Russo

Total books given out to date through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Volunteer Hours in 2018

Dollars Invested in our Communities over the Past Year



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