New faces ready to take on roles at United Way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NATCHEZ — The United Way has been a recognized name in the community for years, but now there are two new names leading the organization.

Tiffany Mascagni was recently named executive director of the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou, and Carol Follmer is the new administrative assistant for the agency.

Mascagni has been on the job for approximately one month, and said she has been busy preparing for the annual fundraising campaign that kicks off in August.

Mascagni brings years of experience as a businesswoman and entrepreneur to the table.

Most of Mascagni’s time has been spent getting an intimate look at the organizations for which she will be helping raise money.

“To be able to speak passionately about the organizations we support, I knew I had to get in there and see the work they do,” Mascagni said. “It has been eye opening to see what these organizations are able to do with the limited funds we are able to provide them.

The United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou provides funding for 14 local agencies. The goal of the United Way is to provide a central agency that individuals and businesses can support that then provides funding for a variety of worthy causes.

Follmer is responsible for organizing the paperwork to make sure the partnering agencies are properly screened and processed to receive the allocated funding.

Mike Gemmell, chairman of the Board of Directors for the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou said the arrival of Mascagni and Follmer has brought a new excitement to the office that he is sure will translate into successful fundraising.

“In just the weeks they have been here they have bombarded the board with great new ideas,” he said. “We feel so very fortunate to have two such qualified individuals that were willing to take these positions.”

A large portion of the fundraising for the United Way is done through business drives, Mascagni said. She said she hopes to be able to breathe new life into the businesses by allowing directors from the partnering agencies supported by the United Way to speak to the individual businesses.

“We can’t all have access to the different organizations, but hearing directly from the directors gives you a look at the needs they have,” Mascagni said. “I think a large part of our job is going to be educating the community on what exactly the role of the United Way is and how it helps the community.”

And that is something Mascagni and Follmer admitted they both had to learn before taking the job.

“I knew the name and had a general understanding of the organization, but I really had to do some looking and reading to fully understand the goals,” Follmer said. “When you see the needs of the partnering agencies, knowing that you can help them just pumps you up.”

The campaign is a three-month drive that raises the majority of the yearly goal, but the work continues after that.

Gemmell said the United Way must stay visible in the community it is trying to help.

“The programs that are supported by the United Way provide assistance for the socially and economically disadvantaged and gives those the chance to become active and productive members of the community,” he said. “Everything we do is an investment back into the community.”

Gemmell believes Mascagni and Follmer will be able to build on the momentum developed by the pervious executive director Marsha Colson and administrative assistant Christine Brinegar.

“When we met to set our goal last year, the board recommended we set it at $150,000, but Marsha was adamant and said we are going to do $175,000,” Gemmell said. “She and Christine worked tirelessly and not only met that goal but exceeded it.

“They were a tremendous asset, and the board feels like we have another pair that will follow in those footsteps.”

Colson has moved to work full time as the director of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, a job she was already doing. Brinegar is furthering her education.

In the Miss-Lou, the United Way supports Adams County 4-H, Adams County CASA program, Adams County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities Cope and Emergency Assistance program, Catholic Charities Counseling, Concordia Council on Aging Meals program, Concordia Council on Aging Transportation program, Guardian Sexual Assault Center, Guardian Shelter for Battered Families, Natchez-Adams County Council on Aging, Natchez-Adams County Habitat for Humanity, Sunshine Children’s Shelter and Respite Program, T.M. Jennings Little League Baseball and the Salvation Army.