BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The United Way of South Mississippi celebrated a kickoff to its fundraising campaign Tuesday morning in Biloxi. The non-profit invited top fundraisers from around the coast for a Pacesetter Breakfast at the IP Casino Resort.
Eleven coast organizations came together to help the United Way of South Mississippi get its fundraising campaign started in a fun way. These organizations are considered the pacesetters for the year, meaning they held their fundraising campaigns early to help kick off the campaign.
United Way of South Mississippi CEO Cynthia Walker said the breakfast was her chance to say, "thank you." She said the funds will do more than benefit the United Way.
"It is for us to further the work that's already going on that's extremely valuable in our community," said Walker.
This year, that work is dedicated to education. Particularly, early learning and literacy.
"What we are doing is focus on that element and we're putting all of the elements needed in the community for support of that goal," said Walker.
So far, this campaign got a kick start by the organizations represented at the breakfast. These eleven organizations included Mississippi Power, Merit Health, Target, Hancock Bank, WLOX, and several others. The eleven organizations raised more than $464,000 together.
Another Pacesetter also happened to be the host for the morning; the IP Casino Resort. General Manager Duncan McKenzie said the IP and Boyd Gaming believe in what the United Way is doing for education.
"It is a need down here in South Mississippi. And like we said earlier, if we can help the generation coming up, we're helping future generations," said McKenzie.
He and his employees held a successful fundraising campaign, in addition to the $40,000 grant that the IP contributed.
"We need to do everything we can to make South Mississippi the best it can be," said McKenzie.
Cynthia Walker said that 30 percent of the United Way's goal for the year has already been reached by the Pacesetters. This year's campaign co-chairs are Brenda Waltz, CEO of Garden Park Medical Center and Rick Williams, General Manager of WLOX.
Learn more about how the United Way of South Mississippi is helping in our community and how new parents can sign up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library at http://www.unitedwaysm.org/