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United WayUnited Way of Lamar County announces $550,000 in Community Investment Grants to 22 local health and human service programs. This investment is only made possible by the generosity of more than 7,000 individuals who donate to United Way during the 2015 campaign. 100% of donations received are invested in Lamar County.

United Way continues to be one of the largest private funders of these programs in Lamar County. This year, program funding requests totaled more than $741,476, with decisions made by 18 volunteers dedicating a combined 300 hours of service during the allocation process.

Community investment volunteers employ consistent, standardized methods to evaluate and ultimately fund those programs best positioned to improve educational opportunities, to provide basic support services, to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to combat drug and alcohol addiction in our community.

Stephen Gerrald, Edward Jones Financial Advisor and United Way Board President
Stephen Gerrald,
Edward Jones Financial Advisor and United Way Board President

“United Way volunteers are asked evaluate programs based upon community needs, measurable outcomes, financial transparency and accountability,” said Stephen Gerrald, Board President and Financial Advisor – Edward Jones Investments. “Sound stewardship of our community’s investment starts with our standing commitment to transparency and accountability… without that as a foundation, we cannot build a stronger, more vibrant community.”

Volunteers evaluated a record number of funding requests during the grant review process.  Furthermore, they committed to raising more dollars to meet these obligations during the 2015 campaign.

United Way mobilizes resources to benefit local programs aligned around education, income and health; with every dollar raised during the upcoming campaign going to support such programs.  At present, 65% of the allocations will fund programs that provide food, shelter, healthcare and victim services (Income/Poverty Prevention and Health). The balance of 35% will fund programs providing skills, promoting learning, and special services for individuals with intellectual disabilities (Education).

United Way volunteers committed funding for 22 Community Investment Grants, including those from American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts NETSEO, CASA for KIDS, Children’s Advocacy Center, Dylan’s Drivers, Girl Scouts of NETX, Habitat for Humanity/A Brush with Kindness, Lakes Regional MHMR/Innovative Enterprises, Lamar County Child Welfare Board, Lamar County Human Resource Council (Meals on Wheels), Lamar County Literacy Council, Lamar County Coalition of Education Business and Industry, Paris Kiwanis Imagination Library, RSVP, SAFE-T, and The King’s Daughters.

We committed funding to several agencies specifically addressing critical needs in our community:

Homelessness Prevention and Transitional Housing

  • New Hope Center

Transitional program to provide individual support services to address the needs of each adult’s contributors to homelessness.

  • The Salvation Army

Supplement rent and utility assistance to an estimated 100 families in Lamar County.  This support will help keep families in their home, thus avoiding evictions and preventing homelessness.

State Board of Education HB 5

  • Lamar County Coalition of Education Business and Industry

Labor Force Development Program to assure 100% of Lamar County students will have access to relevant certification and dual credit courses through endorsement tracts.

  • Boy Scouts NETSEO

Provide middle school students the chance to begin thinking long-term about possible careers to create long-term success.  Each student should be able to make decision about future employment and understand the possibilities that are available in establishing a successful career.

Alcohol and Drug Related Deaths

  • ETCADA – East Texas

Addition of a Recovery Coach to help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse.  Utilizing successful recovery peers, a powerful message of hope is personified and experiential knowledge is gained.

  • Dylan’s Drivers

Prevention Education with an emphasis on good decision making to address the high rate of alcohol and drug related crashes among young adults in Lamar County.

“Our volunteers allocated $550,000 of Community Investment Grants for 2015, a little more than three quarters the amount requested by local agencies,” said April Carl, Executive Director of United Way of Lamar County. “For this reason, our volunteers, agencies and staff will be working harder than ever to address unmet needs in our community.”

“With United Way’s campaigns so successful the past two years, we decided to take a chance and make more funds available for the Community Investment Grants,” said Zach Saffle, 2015 Campaign Chair and Insurance Agent – Pierson & Fendley Insurance, “Raising our Campaign Goal highlights the importance in all of us working together to build a more hopeful future, because we are all better when we LIVE UNITED!”

To learn more about United Way of Lamar County, our programs and the impact we are making in our community visit call 903-784-6642, email or visit

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