Ferrell is serving her second year as chairman of the local United Way effort, which this year has expanded its role in Southeast Missouri as indicated by its new name. Formerly the Sikeston Area United Way, the umbrella organization has added Bootheel to its name to indicate its support of agencies in not only Sikeston and Scott County, but also in Stoddard, New Madrid, Mississippi and Pemiscot counties and even into Butler County.
The goal of the local campaign, which begins Sept. 6, is $80,000 which will be divided between 14 agencies. All money raised stays in the area.
"The United Way is special because we serve so many different agencies, all of which provide their services at little or no cost to their clients," Ferrell said. "We know that many people receive donation requests from individual institutions, but many of the agencies the United Way supports are low-
profile organizations which do not have large public fundraising activities - such as the Scott County Transit or House of Refuge. A donation to the United Way means helping not just one agency, but 14 different agencies."
Ferrell, who lives in Charleston, is not new to the United Way or philanthropic efforts. She has served on the United Way Board of Directors since 2004, and has worked with a variety of charitable and social organizations in the past. The marketing director for Focus Bank, she has been involved in marketing for the past 15 years.
She explained the yearly United Way budget is set by a local budget committee which receives funding requests from agencies. "I think what makes United Way special is that the board is made up of a group of volunteers from our area who believe in the importance of the services provided by the agencies we fund," Ferrell said.
The other officers serving with Ferrell are: Greg Comer and Donna Tippy, vice chairmen; Sarah Buchanan, secretary; and Suzanne Burch, treasurer.
Providing continuing support for the local United Way is Glenna Shy, who has served as executive director for almost 30 years. "She is a member of this community and dedicated, just like the volunteers, to serving this community and these agencies," Ferrell said.
"We're always excited when a new campaign starts," Shy said. "We're also very excited that we've enlarged the geographical area and can now assist service agencies in all of Southeast Missouri." However, great support from Sikeston , in particular the businesses and industries here, always has been key to United Way 's success, she added.
Ferrell noted that the United Way makes it easy for companies to set up a payroll deduction program, in which an employee can deduct as low as a $1 per paycheck to go to the United Way for a year. "Employees don't miss that money and the impact they are making can be felt by those served for the rest of their lives," Ferrell said.
Those who would like to know more about the United Way, or would like to have Ferrell or another United Way representative come present a program and show a short video, may call the United Way office at 471-0310.