Op-ed: Investing in LOU Community Knows No Bounds

By Kurt Brummett
Executive Director United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County
kurt@unitedwayoxfordms.org

As anyone who has suffered the misfortune of trying to sell collectible tins of popcorn can attest, fundraising can humble you like few other activities in life.

However, when the reason why you fundraise has worth, a “no” is often the consequence of someone who may not “know” what the cause is truly about. So, I want to let others “know” the immeasurable returns that result from investing in the Lafayette-Oxford-University (LOU) community.

From an educational perspective, the returns on investment are not only immeasurable, they are often generational. Supporting tutoring and enrichment programming through The Leap Frog Program and the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi helps local first-, second-, and third-grade students improve academically while laying the foundation for future success in school as well as life. In that same regard, contributions enable the LOU Reads Coalition to partner with both agencies and countless others to ensure all children within the LOU community can read proficiently by the end of the third grade. The incalculable returns are further fortified by the Lafayette County Literacy Council (LCLC) through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and the Gordon Community and Cultural Center with its Abbeville School Educational Summer Enrichment Camp. However, the impacts do not reside strictly in children as the LCLC’s Adult Basic Literacy Education (ABLE) program helps Lafayette County residents earn a high school equivalency certificate.

In regards to improving health, an investment in the LOU community assists Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi as it supports victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and other violent acts. In addition, donations aid Girl Scouts Heart of the South’s efforts to develop strong, healthy leaders and allow the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford to provide personal hygiene items to children attending Oxford School District and Lafayette County School District. Furthermore, investing in our community enables North Mississippi Exchange Family Center to decrease incidences of child abuse and Special Olympics Mississippi (Area 4) to offer valuable programming to those with intellectual disabilities. Contributions also help Oxford Community Market reduce food insecurity by increasing access to and consumption of fresh, healthy, local food.

The returns are no less extraordinary when it comes to promoting financial stability and meeting basic needs throughout Oxford and Lafayette County. Donations enable Doors of Hope Transition Ministries to guide homeless and at-risk families with minor children toward self-reliance and North Mississippi Kidney Foundation to provide patients on life-saving dialysis with need-based assistance. Similarly, philanthropic support enables Interfaith Compassion Ministry and The Salvation Army to provide emergency assistance to Lafayette County residents in need of basic necessities. Investments also benefit senior citizens through the local Meals on Wheels program administered by Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging, while at the same time supplying trained volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children within the youth court system through CASA of Lafayette County.

The United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County is proud to provide the means to support all of the referenced programs and initiatives through a single contribution to our organization. Whether the amount is $1 or $1 million, each tax-deductible donation makes a significant impact as we improve lives and meet community needs by uniting people and resources.

Unlike investing in a popcorn tin, there is no worry of unrelenting heartburn by supporting our local United Way. However, your heart will likely swell as you invest in the LOU community and make a meaningful difference that has no bounds. I hope you now “know” the incredible impact of not saying “no” and the immeasurable returns that result. To “know” more, visit unitedwayoxfordms.org.