United Way exceeds goal of $1.4 million

Published 12:13 am Sunday, January 15, 2012

Six months ago, J.R. Armstrong made a promise to “sing and tap dance” if necessary to reach the 2011 United Way of West Central Mississippi fundraising goal of $1.4 million.

He didn’t dance or sing, and the campaign raised $9,108 more than the goal.

“Thankfully, I saved myself and this community some embarrassment by not having to do all that,” Armstrong said.

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In the past few days, 21 agencies in Warren, Yazoo, Sharkey, Issaquena and Claiborne counties have been notified that they would be receiving part of $789,965 in twice-monthly increments for a year. The amount given to each agency depends on budget requests made before the campaign started.

The rest of the money goes to United Way operating costs and such national organizations as the American Cancer Society.

“They are all extremely appreciative,” Armstrong said of the agencies. “Without United Way, a lot of them couldn’t operate, and there’s no question that they’re happy.”

Armstrong, an accounting partner at May and Company, served as co-chairman for the campaign that began in July and ended in October. Linda Fondren, owner of Shape Up Sisters gym, also helped lead the fund raising.

The annual campaign included volunteers making phone calls, sending mail outs and speaking at functions.

“We try not to leave anybody out,” said Barbara Tolliver, executive director of United Way of West Central Mississippi. “We do everything to reach everybody possible to get their support.”