Area United Way more than halfway toward goal

Published 12:56 am Monday, November 24, 2008

NATCHEZ — In a struggling economy, United Way Chairman Mike Gemmell is surprised at how well the organization’s annual campaign is going.

And he attributes it mostly to recently appointed Executive Director Marsha Colson.

“The success of our campaign so far in the economy is a testament to her professionalism,” Gemmell said.

Email newsletter signup

The United Way’s goal this year is $150,000.

Right now, Colson said they are at 55 percent of the goal.

Gemmell said that is a good place to be at this point.

“That’s an indication of how valuable Marsha Colson is to the campaign,” he said.

Colson said that the 55-percent estimate is not even truly representative.

“There are a number of big employee campaigns that have not reported yet,” she said. “I have done what I think is a pretty conservative estimate of the individual company campaigns.”

And still conservative in thinking, Colson said she is optimistic.

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to meet our goal,” she said.

But Gemmell will take it even further than that.

“I’m very optimistic that we will meet or exceed our goal,” he said.

As far as comparing this year’s campaign with previous years, Gemmell said he can’t.

“It’s apples to oranges,” he said.

With the economy wavering, this year is unlike any other, he said.

Colson said the campaign has gone very well, from events put on by businesses like the Isle of Capri’s cook out on Friday, to individual donations.

The United Way fundraisers have gone well, too, she said. These include the Jambalaya Cook Off and the road block collections in Vidalia and Natchez.

“Both of those were done with a lot of volunteer support and local businesses,” she said.

Colson said any business that would still like to participate in the campaign they can, despite it ending at the end of the month.

“We’ll be continuing to do various fundraising activities well into next year,” she said.

Individual donations can be sent to P.O. Box 1466, Natchez, MS, 39121.

Both Colson and Gemmell said they are appreciative of all the help they’ve received.

“I would say there are major companies and corporations on both sides of the river that are very actively involved,” Colson said.

Gemmell said the board members have been terrific as has the Natchez-Adams School District.

And Gemmell, who admittedly went into the campaign season with high hopes for Colson, said he hasn’t been let down.

“All my hopes have been exceeded far beyond my dreams,” he said.