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United Way awards $305,000 in community grants

The United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County has awarded $305,000 to local program partners and community coalitions serving the LOU community as part of its 2018-2019 grant cycle.

According to a news release from UWOLC, the grants and other awards are a way for the organization to advance its mission to improve lives and meet community needs by uniting people and resources.

Recipients were selected by advisory committees comprised of local volunteers, who were tasked with guiding the UWOLC annual grant-making process by evaluating applications in its four focus areas: education, health, financial stability and basic needs.

Once the advisory committees completed their evaluations, the committee chairs met in order to determine the recommended award amounts, which are submitted to the UWOLC’s Board of Directors for its review and approval, according to executive director Kurt Brummett. The referenced evaluations and awards are then preceded by a fiscal agent review, which is conducted by the organization’s finance committee.

The aforementioned grant-making process is extensive, Brummett said, as applicants must demonstrate the positive outcomes of the proposed programs and coalition activities as well as the severity of the needs being addressed. All of the participants are local residents who give of their time, talents and expertise to ensure the awarded grant funding will have a significant impact within their home community. Brummett said he values each volunteer’s devotion and commitment.

“Our committee members and board of directors have the unenviable task of trying to allocate diminishing grant dollars to ever-evolving needs within our community,” Brummett said. “The past two years have been very difficult, as donor contributions have significantly decreased at the same time needs within our community have substantially increased. I sincerely appreciate the dedication exhibited by our board and committee members, as well as all of our applicants that make such a tremendous impact throughout our community.”

The UWOLC will provide grant funding to 25 programs and two community coalitions as part of the new grant cycle.

According to Brummett, financial support from throughout the LOU community is vital as local needs continue to rise. However, as local needs have risen, Brummett said, so has volunteer participation – but there’s always room to improve.

“While our community flourishes in many ways, our collective challenges continue to grow at an alarming rate,” said Brummett. “I cannot thank our grant recipients and applicants enough for their outstanding efforts as we all work hand in hand to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others throughout Oxford and Lafayette County.”

The following entities received grant funds in conjunction with the FY 2018-2019 award cycle:

Education ($92,260): Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi, Gordon Community & Cultural Center, Inc., Horizons at the University of Mississippi, Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library, Lafayette County Literacy Council and Leap Frog Program

Health ($75,940): Exchange Club Family Center, Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi, Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Good Food for Oxford Schools, Oxford Community Market, Southern Recovery Advocacy and Special Olympics Mississippi – Area IV

Basic Needs ($85,800): CASA of Lafayette County, Interfaith Compassion Ministry, Oxford-Lafayette Habitat for Humanity and Three Rivers PDD/AAA – Meals on Wheels

Financial Stability ($44,000): Doors of Hope Transition Ministries, LOU Saves, LOU-Home, Inc., North Mississippi Kidney Foundation and North Mississippi Rural Legal Services

Community Coalitions ($7,000): LOU Excel By 5 Coalition and LOU Reads Coalition

For more information, visit www.unitedwayoxfordms.org.