By BRIAN HAWKINS
Latest reports from the United Way of North Central Mississippi show that the 2011 fundraising campaign has reached more than 29 percent of its goal.
Reports compiled Thursday showed that the campaign has seen $101,658.87 in pledges, which is 29.1 percent of the $350,000 campaign goal.
“We’ve gotten a good bit of money and are many campaigns are under way with individual businesses and other groups. Several businesses are planning to conduct their campaigns after Thanksgiving,” said Nikki Rives, United Way executive director, on Thursday.
Several special events are helping to raise money for the United Way campaign, and final fundraising totals from those events — including a recent silent auction on the MSU campus and last week’s Festival of Trees — have not yet been reported, Rives said.
Established in 1974 and serving Oktibbeha, Winston, Choctaw and Webster counties, the local United Way organization raises money to support 18 charitable agencies in Oktibbeha County and the greater Golden Triangle region.
In 2009, United Way dollars helped these agencies serve 3,176 people in health training, education, treatment and assistance; 2,176 people in meeting income-based needs such as food and emergency assistance; and 2,721 people through various education programs offered by United Way agencies, according to statistics compiled by the United Way staff.
“We want to encourage those who have not started a United Way campaign to do so and to call our office for help. If they have never had a campaign and would like to do so, now is a good time,” Rives said.
“The agencies that receive United Way dollars do so much good work in our community and they depend on the money that’s raised in the campaign to be able to help people.”
Agencies receiving local United Way funding include:
• American Red Cross.
• Area Agency on Aging/ Fellowship Foods/Homemaker Service.
• Boy Scouts of America.
• Boys and Girls Club of Oktibbeha County.
• Brickfire Project.
• CONTACT Helpline.
• The Father’s Child Ministries.
• 4-H Clubs.
• Girl Scouts of Northeast Mississippi.
• Habitat for Humanity.
• Helping Hands Ministries of Oktibbeha County.
• North Mississippi Kidney Foundation.
• Oktibbeha County Humane Society.
• Prairie Opportunity Inc.
• Recovery House Inc.
• Salvation Army.
• Safe Haven/The Rape Crisis Center.
• Sally Kate Winters Family Services.
All United Way contributions — regardless of the giving method or level — are tax-deductible. The vast majority of money raised is used to benefit the United Way agencies , Rives said.
“Ninety-nine cents out of every dollar remains in our community. Less than 1 percent of the funds raised in our four-county area goes to the United Way of America,” Rives said.
United Way dollars are put to the most effective use possible, Rives said.
“Volunteers from throughout Oktibbeha County and all walks of life meet annually to tour each agency and review budgets, services and requests for funding to determine how dollars can make the greatest impact,” she said.
Multiple ways to give
Members of the public have multiple choices in deciding to give to the United Way campaign, including:
• Mobile giving — Using one’s cellular phone, a donor can send the text message “NCMISS” to UNITED (864833). This will add a $5 charge to a person’s cellular phone bill that will be donated directly to the United Way. A donor can make no more than one text message donation per day.
• Payroll deduction — If one’s employer has the capability of doing this option, the donor may elect to have a certain amount of money from each paycheck be donated to the United Way for a certain number of pay periods.
• Donation by cash or check — A donor may make a one-time cash or check donation.
• Credit card — A donor can choose to make a one-time or monthly donation via a specific credit card.
• Pacesetters — Individuals may also want to contribute through a Pacesetter gift.
Pacesetters are donors or groups contributing $500 or more during a campaign, with multiple identified levels, including community donor ($500 to $749), community friend ($750 to $1,499) and community hero ($1,500 and above).
For more information about making contributions to United Way, call 323-3830 or stop by the offices at 1016G Louisville St.
Pledge forms are available at the front desk at the Starkville Daily News offices at 304 E. Lampkin St., which are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.