Local United Way vows to keep donations in local area - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local United Way vows to keep donations in local area

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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

It's a time of transition for the United Way of Jackson and George Counties. At Friday's annual meeting, the organization installed a new board president and officers. They said told whatever the future changes at the national level their commitment to community will stay the same.

In 2012, the United Way challenged donors to be "United Ever After" with a fairy godmother and Prince Charming. Outgoing board president Richard Schenk said he's proud of the successful fundraising campaigns during his term.

"I was really excited during our two years that during our two campaigns we averaged $2 million in donations and that money will stay in Jackson and George counties."

Schenk is passing the gavel to Richard Lucas who's been a United Way volunteer for more than 30 years.

"Having the volunteer base we have in Jackson and George counties is nothing short of wonderful," Lucas said. "You've probably heard Mississippi often leads the nation in volunteering and I think Jackson and George Counties might lead Mississippi in volunteering so that gives us the ability to succeed."

Local officials said they're proud the money raised here helps 21 agencies help the people here. However, a push by the National United Way for more chapter partnerships focusing on education, income and health from have Jackson and George counties volunteers wondering what will change.

Schenk said, "United Way for Jackson and George County will participate in dialogue and discussions. But our board feels very, very strongly that the United Way of Jackson and George County maintains within the county the donations that we receive from people within the community. We want to keep that money here to help those agencies not perhaps supporting entities outside of our area."

The new president, Richard Lucas, agrees. "We've got to really take a look at what United Way is doing nationally. We're going to make sure Jackson and George Counties have the proper United Way here. I can tell you that right now. We will take care of business on that because we are about Jackson and George Counties."

Officials said there are more than one thousand United Way chapters around the country.

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