Mississippi College

MC Launches 2009 United Way Campaign

September 8, 2009

America's financial pain didn't diminish Mississippi College's United Way campaign a year ago.

In fact, MC faculty and staff giving rose about 15 percent over 2008 levels for United Way. It's a positive sign showing the heart of the MC community in the midst of economic hard times. MC leaders predict this fall's United Way campaign will prove once again that faculty and staff remain generous givers while the recession lingers.

The goal for MC's 2009 United Way campaign is $15,000, said Shari Barnes, director of the MC Community Service Center. She's spearheading MC's United Way efforts for the third year in a row.

Under her guidance, MC contributions to the United Way of the Capital Area grew from a little over $12,000 in 2007 to $14,200 in 2008. The contributions assist more than 50 agencies in Central Mississippi, including the Magnolia Speech School, Stewpot, Goodwill Industries and the American Red Cross.

MC President Lee Royce and MC trustee Andy Taggart, a Madison attorney, were among the members of the 2008 United Way Campaign Cabinet. It's a group of business and civic leaders in Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties.

Royce is urging MC faculty and staff to increase the percentage of giving this fall - it was 29 percent in 2008. The giving percentage was highest at the MC School of Law with its faculty and staff rate reaching a strong 52 percent.

Baptist-affiliated MC is home to 500 faculty and staff members, and many of them are firm believers in United Way's benefits. In the local area, United Way was created as the Community Chest of Jackson in 1939.

Nearly 70 years after it was launched in the capital city area, MC giving levels are making progress. During the 2008 campaign, gifts from individual MC people ranged from $5 to $1,100.

When the campaign wrapped up in November 2008, Royce thanked MC folks who gave via checks, cash or payroll deductions. "MC has made an important statement," he said at the time. "Let us keep up the good work."

Royce and Barnes are quietly working behind the scenes to make sure that giving and enthusaism levels remain high.

The official MC kickoff date is Oct. 1, and leaders hope to wind things up by the end of next month. It's a labor of love for Barnes. In her capacity as head of the Community Services Center she sees to it that hundreds of MC students get connected as volunteers with scores of agencies in metro Jackson.

"I like their set-up," Barnes said of United Way. "The money goes to the community. The agencies must apply for their assistance."

Last year, some of the donations helped the Red Cross when they teamed with United Way's staffers to field more than 10,000 calls from Mississippi and Louisiana people impacted by Hurricane Gustav. United Way funds also helped three MC students who lost many of their belongings after a fire heavily damaged their Clinton apartment.

Among colleges in metro Jackson, Mississippi College finished on top in United Way giving for the past two years, Barnes noted. She's already working hard to see to it that the Christian university remains No. 1 in that category.

United Way President Carol Burger is expected to visit MC faculty and staff later this fall to get the campaign rolling.

Givers can designate an agency to receive the funds if they donate $100 or more. United Way of the Capital Area leaders say education, financial stability and health are the biggest needs of the 2009 campaign for people in Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties.

For more details, contact Shari Barnes at the Community Service Center in the B.C. Rogers Student Center. She can be reached at 601-925-3855 or sbarnes@mc.edu

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