United Way honors top donors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 8, 2000

Top givers to the 1999 United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou Inc. campaign were recognized Tuesday at the agency’s annual meeting.

The campaign, which generated $308,316.41, reached 97.8 percent of its goal.

Campaign chairman Kevin Smith and co-chairman Cliff Merritt &uot;have just done an outstanding job,&uot; said Clyde Ray Webber, president of the board. &uot;I’ve been there and understand how much they go through.&uot;

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Smith and Merrit coordinated the campaign, which had a goal of $315,000.

Again this year, International Paper’s Natchez Mill had the top campaign, generating $72,320 in employee and corporate donations.

The company received both a gold award and special recognition for its efforts, which came in a year that included employee layoffs and two plant shutdowns.

&uot;The first time we went to visit (the IP campaign leaders) we told them we knew they were having employee cutbacks … and they both almost simultaneously said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll reach our goal,’&uot; Smith said.

Not only did IP employees reach their goal, they exceeded it.

And that, said IP spokesperson Lillie DeShields, is a testament &uot;to the caring people&uot; who work at the mill.

DeShields accepted the awards with Blackie Williams, who co-chaired the mill’s internal campaign.

Zachary Construction Company was recognized for having the top percent of participation – all 51 of its employees contributed to the campaign.

And, The Natchez Democrat was recognized as the top per capita giver, with a $372.72 average gift per employee.

In addition to IP’s Natchez Mill, special recognition went to the employees of Supermarket Operations, which significantly increased employee giving and had 180 of 240 employees participate, and the faculty and staff of the Natchez-Adams School District, which utilized &uot;innovative campaigns&uot; to increase its participation, Smith said.

Natchez Community&160;Hospital received the Charles H. Adams Memorial Award for having the largest increase in the total campaign. &uot;The employees set a goal and exceeded that goal by 31 percent,&uot; Smith said, describing the effort as &uot;bravery above and beyond the call of duty.&uot;

The United Way Board of Directors also approved the allocations for the year 2000, with $234,917 going to 27 different agencies.

&uot;Last year our allocations were around $242,000,&uot; said Nancy Webster, president of the United Way. &uot;This wasn’t a huge decrease, but unfortunately it was a small one and everyone has to deal with that.&uot;

In addition, the committee added an agency to the allocations list, she said. But no agency received more than a 14 percent reduction in allocations and some saw no reductions, she added.