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United Way buys new office building

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
July 3, 2001
United Way of East Mississippi announced the purchase of a new office building Monday.
Louis Sutton, chief professional officer and Donnie Smith, chairman of the board and executive committee, met with The Meridian Star's editorial board Monday just hours before closing the deal on 2003 23rd Ave.
The purchase price was $140,000 and Friday is moving day. The building formerly housed the Cameron, Dean law firm.
Smith said the board has been searching for a new home for years. He said the price, as well as the building's condition, are excellent. The building was appraised at $155,000.
Eventually the building will also house an information and referral service for all health and human service agencies within the nine-county region according to Sutton. The move will increase the United Way's office space from 1,000 to 3,200 square feet. The current headquarters are at 818 Constitution Ave.
Capital campaign
A capital campaign to raise $180,000 for the building, furnishings and software for the information and referral service is being launched. Eighteen foundations, including The Riley Foundation in Meridian, will be approached.
Sutton said the structure of the campaign will include the following gift increments: one $50,000 gift, two $25,000 gifts and a number of $10,000 gifts all to be paid within a five-year period.
The capital campaign is separate from the organization's annual fund-raising drive.
Sutton will handle the capital campaign.
The relocation is intended to increase the organization's visibility, image and space, create permanence and make room for growth.
Organizational structure
United Way of East Mississippi has three paid staff members and two volunteer positions, and is adding two new services Green Thumb and Volunteers in Service to America.
Green Thumb operates under the Department of Adult Aging Services by helping older workers re-enter the work force by teaching them skills. VISTA places individuals with community-based agencies to work with poverty-stricken people.
The organization's executive committee chaired by Smith, corporate director of human resources at Rush Foundation Hospital approved the purchase of the new building.
The executive committee is made up of Allen Stewart, president of BankPlus, treasurer; Anthony Wilson, district manager of Mississippi Power, secretary; Cindy Dyess of Riley Hospital, vice-chair marketing and resources; Amy Boutwell of Peavey Electronics, vice-chair resource distribution; Tammy Eason of Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus, vice-chair community building; and Joel Johnson of Jeff Anderson Health and Fitness Center.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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