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 non-profit 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

The Community Impact Committee is comprised of about 25 volunteers representing a cross section of the community. The committee assesses how local non-profit agencies are meeting the community’s needs in the areas of education, financial stability, health and support services.  After carefully reviewing grant applications and conducting in-person interviews, the committee evaluates the most effective way to distribute United Way funds to the agencies that 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.

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.


2018-2019 Board of Directors 

-Greg Hodges, Hancock Whitney, Chairman of the Board

- Temple Bennett, Forrest General

- Chase Blankenship, The First, A National Banking Association

- Julie Breazeale, Polk’s Meat Products

- Celeste Brown, Southern Mississippi Planning & Development District

- Jermaine Brown, Hattiesburg Public School District, Resource Development Chair

- Rebecca Brown, Mississippi Community Education Center

- Jana Bryant, Georgia Pacific - Leaf River Cellulose

- Jeff Cook, Forrest Health

- Jerry Defatta, USM Alumni Association

- Kristy Gould, Hattiesburg Clinic

- Karen Griffis, Regions

- Terrell Grindle, Nicholson Consulting Group

- Shawn Harris, Regions, Immediate Past Board Chair

- Michael Harvey, Mississippi Power, Pacesetter Division Chair

- Lynne Houston, PhD, William Carey University

- Todd Jackson, The Area Development Partnership

- Ryan Kelly, Horizon Professional Services

- Marcia Line, Lamar County Education Foundation

- Janet Mitchell, Forrest Health

- Bo Pennebaker, Ashley Homestore

- Rev. Tony Reimonenq Jr., West Point Baptist Church

- Traci Rouse, Merit Health Wesley

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

- Benny Waddle, BancorpSouth

- Brad Wood, Topp McWhorter Harvey, PLLC

- LaTressa Young, Lamar County School District


Want to Get Involved? Contact Us!