United Way sets fundraising sights on $1,525,000, down from ’07|[06/07/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2008

Though the economy isn’t too sunny, United Way campaign chairman Don Jarratt is optimistic about the fundraising goal he and his cabinet have set for 2008.

“In times of economic hardship, our agencies need this money. To not raise it would almost be irresponsible,” Jarratt said. “Our minds and logic tell us that it will be harder, but our hearts tell us that it’s times like these that people need help from these agencies.”

The United Way of West Central Mississippi set its 2008 fundraising goal at $1,525,000, a slight decrease from last year’s $1,582,000. The local United Way serves Claiborne, Sharkey, Issaquena, Yazoo and Warren counties and Louisiana’s Madison Parish.

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The 2007 campaign reached $1,525,822.57, about 96 percent of the goal.

The United Way not only raises and distributes money to its 20 member agencies, but it also holds agencies accountable for money spent.

Jarratt said accountability is what attracted him to the United Way.

Member agenciesAmerican Red CrossBoy ScoutsCentral Mississippi Prevention ServicesChild Abuse Prevention CenterChristian Volunteer ServiceCommunity CouncilGirl ScoutsGood Shepherd Community CenterGrace Christian Counseling CenterHaven House Family ShelterHIV ServicesMagnolia Speech SchoolMIDD-WestThe Salvation ArmyVicksburg Family DevelopmentWarren County Habitat for HumanityWarren-Yazoo Mental HealthWe Care Community ServicesYMCA

“When I moved back to Vicksburg, a lot of the agencies came to my attention, but it was difficult to decide where to help,” he said. “I knew I wanted to give back, and the umbrella coverage of United Way felt like a perfect fit.”

Jarratt attended Vicksburg Catholic School and received a bachelor’s degree in landscape contracting from Mississippi State University. He then moved to Maryland, where the commercial landscaping business he worked for grew to 13 branches in five metro areas of the mid-Atlantic. Jarratt, 45, “effectively retired” in 2006 after moving home to Vicksburg in August 2005. He and his wife, Ginny, have two children – Ryan, 8, and Ashley, 5 – who attend St. Francis Xavier Elementary, an arm of Vicksburg Catholic.

Jarratt will oversee an 11-person cabinet he helped assemble. He will assist members of the cabinet in their fundraising endeavors, whether by brainstorming or visiting potential donors. His duties also include giving a face to the United Way charities “so that the entire community knows the benefits (of their giving),” he said.

In addition to his involvement with the United Way, Jarratt is the volunteer president and general manager of the Vicksburg Country Club, a member of the YMCA Men’s Group and the Rotary Club of Vicksburg, and a vestryman at The Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal.

Barbara Tolliver, United Way executive director, said that the bottom line isn’t the money, but what it accomplishes.

“We are helping real people change the conditions in their lives,” she said. “Success, to me, is helping people.”

The 2008 campaign cabinet:

Heather ButlerHeather Butler, leadership chair – Butler works at DiamondJacks Casino. She was on the United Way’s board of directors and served as account manager, was on the donor investment committee and was donor investment chair. She is in charge of public relations for the Junior Auxiliary of Vicksburg and is on the board of directors for Mississippi’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University. She and her husband, William, have two children.

Terri CoseyTerri Cosey, local government chair – Cosey is a Warren County employee. She is a former United Way board member and local government chair. She is a member of Vicksburg Intermediate’s Parent Teacher Association and the Vicksburg Packers youth football organization. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alcorn State University and one son.

Lynn FoleyLynn Foley, special gifts chair – Foley works at Wingate by Wyndham. She is on the United Way’s donor investment panel. She is president of the Vicksburg Association of Marketing Professionals, a member of the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and publicity chair for the Rotary Club of Vicksburg. She is a member of the choir and a lector/commentator at St. Michael Catholic Church. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Mississippi and three children.

Forbes GroganForbes Grogan, large firms chair – Grogan works at BancorpSouth. He is a member of United Way’s donor investment panel and is a United Way telephone volunteer. He is president of Vicksburg Kiwanis Club, a Boy Scouts of America volunteer and president of the Vicksburg Chapter of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association. He is a member of First Baptist Church. A graduate of St. Aloysius High School, Grogan has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and is a graduate of the graduate school of banking at Louisiana State University.

Donna IngramDonna Ingram, pacesetter chair – Ingram is a certified public accountant, and is pacesetter chair for the second year. She chairs the leadership, prospect and professional divisions. She is a past president of the Vicksburg Rotary Club and Vicksburg Catholic School’s “A” Club and assistant treasurer of the Central Mississippi Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She is a graduate of Michigan State University. She and her husband, Paul, have two children.

Gail KavanaughGail Kavanaugh, school chair – Kavanaugh is the Vicksburg Warren School District’s child nutrition director. She was the 2007 school chair. She is a member of Mississippi Association of School Administrators executive board. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in institution management. She and her husband, John Kelly, have a daughter and grandchild.

Debra KetteDebra Kette, professional chair – Kette is a senior vice president at RiverHills Bank. She was a 2007 account manager. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society and the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce. Kette attended North Vicksburg High School, is a graduate of Hinds Community College and participates in Mississippi Bankers Association education programs. She and her husband, Richard, have a daughter and two grandchildren.

Donita LoweryDonita Lowery, small business chair – Lowery works at Britton & Koontz Bank. She is a graduate of the Florida School of Banking and Louisiana State University’s graduate school of banking. She is married to Doug Lowery.

Sadie RandleSadie Randle, commercial chair – Randle is a BancorpSouth employee. She is a member of the Exchange Club of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce. She attended Hinds Community College.

Virginia ReganVirginia Regan, account manager chair – Regan works at Trustmark National Bank. She is on the United Way board of directors. She is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Hinds Community College and has three children.

Donna SaundersDonna Saunders, prospects chair – Saunders is a volunteer with the Vicksburg Art Association and The Baddour Center and is a Master Gardener. She attended the University of Maryland and worked for 20 years at Entergy in project management. She and her husband, Steve, have two children and five grandchildren.