About Us

Our Mission

Cultivate partnerships in our community to improve lives through education, financial stability and healthy living. 

Our Goal

United Way of Southeast Mississippi is a local non-profit organization that strives to make a positive impact in Forrest, Lamar, Perry and Marion counties. By providing funds to partnering agencies, United Way addresses community issues in four impact areas: education, financial stability, health, and support services.
With the help of many dedicated volunteers, we work to use the community’s donations as effectively as possible to meet the needs of our area. We encourage everyone to join us in our efforts to LIVE UNITED.

Funds Distribution

Wonder how your donation gets to the agencies and programs that need it?  Here’s how it works…

The Community Impact Committee is comprised of about 25 volunteers representing a cross section of the community. The committee assesses how the agencies are meeting the community’s needs in the areas of education, financial stability, health and support services.  The committee decides the most effective way to distribute United Way funds to the agencies who have applied. It is the committee’s responsibility to ensure that each donor’s campaign contributions are invested in closely-monitored local programs.
The volunteers from the committee invest many hours in the funds distribution process.  They visit with the partner agencies and evaluate each program’s effectiveness. During the visits, agencies give presentations explaining their programs, services and budgets.  The committee also studies and analyzes the agencies’ investment of United Way funds and how they are used.
To view details about how much funding is provided to the agencies, view our most recent annual report here.

Designated Donations

Donations designated to specific agencies are allocated by separate stream funding.  This means that the designations, less applicable campaign expenses, are paid directly to qualified agencies first. The funds distribution committee reviews each agency’s programs and decides how much funding each will receive without knowledge of the specific amount of designations each will receive.  Therefore, it does not affect the committee’s recommendation for funding.


2017-2018 Board of Directors 

- Temple Bennett, Community Volunteer

- Chase Blankenship, The First, A National Banking Association

- Julie Breazele, Polk's Meat Products, Inc.

- Jermaine Brown, Hattiesburg Public School District

- Jana Bryant, Georgia Pacific - Leaf River Cellulose

- Jeff Cook, Forrest Health

- Jerry DeFatta, The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association

- Kristy Gould, Hattiesburg Clinic, P.A.

- Karen Griffis, Regions

- Terrell Grindle, Nicholson Consulting Group

- Michael Harvey, Mississippi Power Company

- Greg Hodges, Hancock Bank

- Lynne Houston, PhD. William Carey University

- Todd Jackson, The ADP

- Ryan Kelly, Horizon Professional Services

- Marcia Line, Lamar County Education Foundation

- Janet Mitchell, Forrest Health

- Bo Pennebaker, Ashley HomeStore

- Traci Rouse, Merit Health Wesley

- Wes Rouse, Magnolia State Bank

- Willie Sims, Willie B. Sims Jr., CPA

- Joe Stevens, Wise Carter Child & Caraway, P.A.

- Benny Waddle, BancorpSouth

- LaTressa Young, Lamar County School District