Thirteen businesses are serving as pacesetters for the 2019 giving campaign of United Way of South Mississippi, which uses donor dollars to improve the overall quality of life in its service area of Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River and Stone counties.

These ambitious pacesetters set the standard for community support by locking in their campaign donations during August, one month before the campaign officially begins, said Kathy Springer, UWSM CEO.

“Pacesetters give early to spark our annual campaign, raising the first dollars of the year that help us make a difference in our communities,” said Springer. “Pacesetter giving inspires others to make a difference for their fellow citizens.”

Pacesetters include Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District, CenterPoint Energy, City of Pass Christian, Coast Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Hancock Whitney, Harrah’s Gulf Coast, Merit Health Biloxi, Mississippi Power Company, Pass Christian School District, Port of Gulfport, SouthGroup Insurance, Target Corporation and United Parcel Service.

The 2019 campaign will officially begin with an 8 a.m. kickoff breakfast, themed “Be Heroic, Live United,” on Sept. 6 at the IP in Biloxi. During the breakfast, the results of pacesetter giving will be announced.

According to Springer, the 2019 campaign goal is $1 million with 99 cents of each donated dollar reinvested in the community. The bulk of these funds go to community impact grants, which are two-year gifts awarded to community nonprofit agencies working on issues in health, education, family services and support, and financial stability.

Donations also benefit community initiatives and shorter-term emergency and emerging needs grants, such as recent funds to help flood victims in Pearl River County.

“Through our partner agencies and community initiatives, we are improving lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources,” said Springer.

Businesses interested in running a campaign for their employees may contact LeAnna Morgan Saucier, director of resource development, at (228) 896-2213 or by email at