Support United Way’s campaign as it kicks off with True Color Run Sept. 18

Published 10:58 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

The United Way of West Central Mississippi is lined up in the blocks and ready to get running like never before. It is our job as the community to be the wind at their back as they face a 60-day sprint to raise more than $1 million for services in our community.

The nonprofit organization’s campaign season officially begins Sept. 18 with the True Color Run through our historic city. But like any race, planning for the campaign takes a huge amount of time.

But like a championship runner, the volunteers and United Way employees involved in the campaign live for this challenge.

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The true challenge this year is one the United Way is already doing a good job of accomplishing — reaching a younger and larger audience.

“We want to continue to evolve and change as our society evolves and changes when it comes to non-profits and giving and donating,” said Katie Ferrell, the campaign chairwoman.

The run has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the United Way. The proof is in the numbers. In past campaigns, the United Way reached out to the same group of around 125 people through a campaign kick-off breakfast. Essentially it amounted to preaching to the choir.

This year the run has already more than doubled that number with 325 registrants with a month to go before the event.

“The color run kick off is a prime example of this huge platform that we’re creating to really get the message out,” Ferrell said.

The goal for the 2015 campaign is $1.235 million, down slightly from the $1.3 million goal from 2014 but more than the $1.2 million it raised in 2013.

The goal is achievable, and we as a community should be able to help the United Way burst through the finish line in record fashion.

They already have a great head start.

This is the first year the campaign kick-off has generated revenue for the United Way’s 22 partner agencies. Sponsors have given enough money to cover the cost of the run. And, because the run has been paid for, all registration fees from participants will go directly to the campaign.

“For the first time ever, we are beginning our campaign in the black,” Ferrell said.

However, now is not the time to be lax. Many a race has been lost because of complacency before the finish line.

The United Way of West Central Mississippi has 22 partner agencies in Warren, Sharkey, Issaquena, Claiborne and Yazoo counties. The services range from the American Red Cross to the Vicksburg YMCA with many points in between. These agencies serve thousand of people each year, and with our community’s help they can continue to spread the good around.