True Color Run raises $15,000 for United Way

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016


The 1,000 people gathered in downtown Vicksburg Sept. 17 for the United Way of West Central Mississippi’s second annual True Color Run painted the town a kaleidoscope of color and raised $15,000 for the organization’s fundraising campaign, executive director Michele Connelly said.

Though the number was lower than last year’s total, Connelly said her plan worked as expected with extra sponsorship money helping the organization meet its goal.

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“We actually received more sponsorships this year (than last) so once we paid for the cost of the event, we were able to utilize some of the sponsorship monies to go toward what we wanted give the agencies because it was United Way’s goal- — and also my personal goal — to make sure the agencies who participated that Saturday would receive $1,000 each,” she said. “Each one of the agencies that participated will receive a check for $1,000 dollars shortly after Jan. 1 of 2017.”

Eighteen agencies participated in this year’s event and will receive a $1,000 lump sum as a “happy new year’s gift” for their efforts, while other campaign money is “divided up amongst the 12 months” to each of its partner agencies, Connelly said.

“It is a lot of fun to be able to reap the benefits of it several months later and see how excited the agencies are to have that little extra to start their year off and make a difference in our community,” she said.

The number of sponsors nearly doubled from 14 last year to 26 for this year’s event, she said, adding the sponsors also provided a $500 reward for the largest school team and a $250 award for the second largest.

“If there’s money left over United Way is going to find a way to donate that money to somebody to make a difference for someone in the community,” she said. “We are not in the business of making it. We’re in the business of giving it.”

Shannon Royal, community impact and events coordinator, said last year’s event was excellent preparation for this year’s.

“We felt we were more prepared this year,” Royal said. “It went better than planned.”

She estimated almost 500 people participated in the event with 435 volunteers helping it run smoothly.

“We had a way bigger volunteer base than in the past. I was very happy to have those volunteers,” she said.

The revised route with fewer hills also seemed to go over well, Royal said.

“Everyone was really happy about the new route,” she said. “Of course there were still some hills, but in a city like Vicksburg, you’re not going to get rid of all of them.”

United Way sent out surveys last week to participants, sponsors and volunteers for feedback to improve next year’s event.

“We wanted to make sure the questions are customized to their experience in the event,” she said. “It’s to make sure that you enjoyed the event and if there is anything you experienced in the run that may need to be looked at or focused on, There’s your opportunity to get that to me.”

Overall, Royal said the event exceeded expectations.

“I couldn’t have asked for more support for the United Way,” she said.

Connelly added, “I truly believe that 2017’s campaign kick off, which will be the color run, will be just as large if not larger.”