United Way aims to raise $550K in annual drive


Jennifer Miles

Jennifer Miles


Kellum Kim

Kellum Kim



Mary Pollitz



Lowndes County United Way received a $10,000 donation from International Paper to kick off its new fundraising campaign.  


Thursday morning, United Way welcomed the public to the annual campaign kick-off for the new fundraising year at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. United Way of Lowndes County supports and funds approximately 18 nonprofit agencies in the Golden Triangle, with missions ranging from elder care, suicide prevention, after-school programs, rehabilitation and homelessness prevention.  


"This is an opportunity for folks in the community to come and learn about the United Way agencies," United Way Executive Board President Jennifer Miles said. "It's to let the community know that we are kicking off the campaign and we welcome their support and their contributions."  


The United Way hopes to raise $550,000 this year to help fund each of its agencies. The agencies request funds and the United Way allocation board reviews the requests and gives the necessary funds to each agency.  


Miles said the donation from IP is a strong start for the fundraising campaign.  


"We are really grateful for International Paper for making this donation," Miles said. "It sends a wonderful message to the community that local industry supports the United Way of Lowndes County and supports the good work being done by all of the United Way agencies."  


The United Way accepts monthly and even one-time donations on their website at https://www.uwlc-ms.org.  


Kellum Kim, International Paper communications manager, said the donation to United Way was made to continue the support Weyerhaeuser, the former Columbus Mill owner, gave to United Way. International Paper purchased the Columbus Mill from Weyerhaeuser in late 2016.  


"For years and years, our facilities in Columbus have supported the United Way of Lowndes County and their work, not just through employee contributions but through volunteerism and involvement in the agencies," Kim said. "We still support the mission of United Way and its agencies. We just thought it was very important to help and launch this campaign off with a gift."  


Kim added IP is simply giving back to an organization that has helped its own employees in the past.  


"There's been a great deal of agencies that have supported our employees in their time of need or their families in their time of need," Kim said. "They're dedicated, we're dedicated and we are excited to see a successful campaign this year." 


Miles added that the kick-off event allows donors to see how their funds are helping the community. Numerous United Way agencies were available to educate and answer questions about their programs and success stories.  


"We want folks to know what they're contributing to and the good they are doing by giving this money," Miles said.  


The United Way also announced it would soon appoint a new executive director to replace Danny Avery, who left the post in April for a position with a Starkville-based hospice agency. Avery served as director for Lowndes County United Way since 2016.  


The United Way's next fundraiser will launch Sept. 8 with the Little Hands, Big Trucks event. The event will feature fire trucks, ambulances, tractors and more vehicles for children to explore at the Columbus Soccer Complex from 9 a.m.-noon. Each ticket is $5 and will go toward United Way. The first hour of the fundraiser will be "sensory-friendly," allowing children to explore the vehicles without sirens, lights or loud noises.




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