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Givens to chair United Way fundraising campaign

Natchez — Michael Gemmell, chairman of the board of the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou, announced that Dr. Roderick Givens will chair the agency’s 2010 fall fundraising campaign.

Givens serves as medical director for Caring River Cancer Center, specializing in radiation oncology.

When contacted about the chairmanship, Givens was honored.

“First, I am honored and pleased to chair this year’s United Way campaign,” Givens said. “I strongly support its mission and goals. I can assure those who contribute that their hard earned dollars will be put to good use.”

The mission of the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou is to increase the organized capacity in Adams County and Concordia Parish to marshal resources such as money, time and talent to support needy causes and help those in need to care for themselves and others.

The agency strives to develop a strong volunteer-driven organization that champions the cause of effective donor-based giving to support programs that enhance the quality of life for all residents in the Miss-Lou.

“The agency funds programs that move those in need from dependency to productivity,” Givens said.

Mike Gemmell explained the United Way in these terms, “In short, the United Way campaign raises funds to leverage programs that lift up those who are economically and socially vulnerable. The agency helps them to become productive members of society.

The board of directors voted to raise $175,000 in the 2010 campaign which began on Aug. 20 with the popular jambalaya cook-off. The campaign will run through the end of the year and funds are collected mainly through employee designated contributions deducted from paychecks made possible via the support of dedicated local businesses and organizations.

These funds are then allocated on a rigorous peer review process based on the needs of the applying agencies. Before receiving grants, agencies must meet strict application guidelines established by United Way Worldwide.

Givens, assisted by the United Way staff, Tiffany Mascagni and Carol Follmer, will be canvassing employers in the Miss-Lou to garner support for the United Way and its partnering agencies. Funds also come from individual donations.

“A $25 donation can do a world of good in the Miss-Lou,” Givens said. “$25 can provide six hot meals for our senior citizens, nails and screws to build one house for Habit for Humanity and emergency food assistance for three families displaced by fire, flood, etc. We hope to significantly increase participation from people who have never been asked to contribute.”

Collecting $175,000 in today’s economic climate will be a challenge to the organization and its core of volunteer leaders, Givens said.

“Therefore, we urge all citizens of good will to seriously consider contributing to the United Way this fall,” he said. “Our volunteer efforts help feed the hungry, provide health services to those in need, fund recreational programs for youth and, in general, assist our partnering agencies to meet the specific needs of their clients.

“Again, our mission is to build strong families, create economic independence and assist those in dire straights — young and old alike.”

For more information about the United Way, the agencies we support or how to contribute visit us at www.unitedwaymisslou.org or call 601-442-1081.

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