From the Monroe Journal Mar 13, 2020
After 20 years as the Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Monroe County, Patti Parker is stepping down, but she isn’t going too far. Parker is the new Director of Donor Engagement with the United Way of Northeast Mississippi in Tupelo.
“This new position is in many ways an extension of my work here, only it is regional in scope,” she said.
Although United Way operates nationally, each chapter is completely autonomous and is governed by a local board of directors. In light of Parker’s departure, the Monroe County United Way Board of Directors began looking at where the organization would go from here.
“We all want to be able to increase funding to our agencies. In recent years, our grant amounts have remained the same. The board decided to see if a merger with the United Way of Northeast Mississippi could be an asset to our community,” Parker said. “This looked like a good time to make this move,” said Marilyn Sumerford, Monroe County United Way chairperson.
The United Way of Northeast Mississippi already covers seven counties in the region: Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tishomingo and Union. Monroe County will bring that to eight.
“We are excited about the possibilities that this merger will bring,” said Melinda Tidwell, president of United Way of Northeast Mississippi. “By pooling our resources, we will be able to achieve an even larger regional impact across all eight counties. We look forward to serving the residents of Monroe County for many years to come.”
While the United Way of Greater Monroe County will begin to integrate with Northeast Mississippi this month, already local agencies are reaping the benefits.
“We have been able to make significant additions to our 2020 grant amounts thanks to the merger,” Parker said. “The Monroe County United Way will grant over $100,000 to local agencies this year.”
The integration process will take about six months. Both Parker and the United Way of Greater Monroe County board want to assure Monroe County contributors that their United Way donations will continue to be used to help Monroe County agencies.
United Way of Greater Monroe County-funded agencies and special projects include Amory Food Pantry, Amory Meals on Wheels, First Friends Respite Center, Aberdeen Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, F.A.I.T.H. Food Pantry, Regional Rehabilitation Center, American Red Cross North MS Chapter, Sally Kate Winters Family Services, Faith Haven, Monroe County 4-H and Quality Education Foundation.
“We have always been very responsive to how donors want to direct their donations and none of that will change,” Parker said.
In addition to making yearly grants to many local nonprofits, United Way of Greater Monroe County also operates a training program through the Bower Foundation for youth ages 18-23 who want to become certified nursing assistants. Parker says the CNA program is currently underway and is not affected by the merger.
United Way of Northeast Mississippi fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Northeast Mississippi. Our mission is to create opportunities to improve lives in the communities we serve.
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