United Way of South Mississippi and the entire Gulf Coast community lost a devoted community champion in 2023, Aletha Burge. Aletha was passionate about our Gulf Coast community, particularly early childhood education and literacy. The purpose of the Aletha Burge Volunteer of the Year Award is to honor a volunteer whose dedicated service has had a significant impact on a local agency and benefitted our community, particularly children and families. This award allows our community to recognize and celebrate a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their volunteer service within the Gulf Coast community.

Do something amazing today and submit a nomination for that hard-working volunteer to United Way of South Mississippi’s Aletha Burge Volunteer of the Year Award!

Take a moment to think about all your hard-working volunteers that are working with you, an individual or family, event, or your agency. Would your work be possible without their hard work and dedication? All volunteers deserve to be recognized for their community involvement, but is there anyone who stands out above the rest; that goes that extra mile to help you, an individual or family, or your agency? Someone that makes life easier, just by volunteering? You thank your volunteers every day for all their hard work, but wouldn’t it be great if they could be recognized and thanked publicly?  


Nominees must have served as a volunteer in an impactful role to a local agency or the community at large in Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River or Stone County.

Award Criteria:

  • Strong volunteer characteristics that could include: dependability, flexibility, initiative, cooperation and positive interaction with others.

  • Going above and beyond to make a positive impact on the agency they serve or the community at large.

  • Having a positive impact that could include: increasing the capacity of the agency that they serve, recruiting additional volunteers, raising funds, etc.

  • Have provided organizational or personal assistance, and specific expertise

  • Have shown initiative and leadership in his or her efforts

  • Have a positive attitude and significant enthusiasm

  • Have exemplified his or her dependability

  • Have a significant depth of involvement

  • Have received no remuneration for services directly associated with his or her volunteer duties

How The Winner Is Selected:

Once nominations have been received, the Aletha Burge Volunteer of the Year Committee, comprised of members of United Way of South Mississippi’s Board of Directors, Friends of United Way and Community Members will review all nominations and select the Volunteer of the Year winner from all of the candidates submitted.

Nomination Information:

Please complete the form on this page with a narrative statement of not more than 1,500 words that describes the nominee (this is required). Applicants should refer to the award criteria on this page when completing the nomination. Additional information in the narrative can include: Volunteer’s responsibilities/duties, why they were selected, and a description of their impact. Supplementary material may be added to the nomination. These materials may include letters, testimonials, news clippings, pamphlets, etc. Submitted materials become the property of United Way of South Mississippi.

Honoring the Winner:

The winner of the Aletha Burge Volunteer of the Year award will be honored at the Annual United Way of South Mississippi Campaign Kick Off Breakfast on September 14, 2023 at IP Casino Resort and Spa.

Each semi-finalist will be highlighted in an upcoming issue the United Way of South Mississippi Newsletter and on all social media platforms.


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

Volunteers from April 2022-May 2023

Dollars Invested in our Communities over the Past Year



News & Info