The United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County (UWOLC) is pleased to announce its fiscal year (FY) 2020-2021 grant recipients, with $200,000 recently awarded to local organizations serving the Lafayette-Oxford-University (LOU) community. Through investments such as the referenced grant awards and other meaningful contributions, the UWOLC advances its mission to improve lives and meet community needs by uniting people and resources. Advisory committees comprised of local volunteers guide the UWOLC’s annual grant-making process by evaluating applications in the categories of education, health, financial stability, and basic needs. Once the advisory committees complete their evaluations, the committee chairs meet in order to determine the recommended award amounts, which are submitted to the UWOLC Board of Directors for its review and approval. The referenced evaluations are accompanied by a fiscal agent review, which is conducted by the organization’s finance committee. The aforementioned award process is thorough as applicants must demonstrate the positive outcomes of the proposed programs and initiatives as well as the severity of the needs being addressed. All of the volunteers who participate in the process are local residents who give of their time, talents, and expertise to ensure the awarded grant funding will have a significant impact within their home community. The UWOLC’s Executive Director, Kurt Brummett, values everyone’s commitment and devotion. “Our committee members and board of directors have the unenviable task of trying to allocate diminishing grant dollars to ever-growing needs within our community,” Brummett said. “The past few years have been extremely difficult as donor contributions have significantly decreased at the same time needs within our community have substantially increased, especially in recent months due to COVID-19. I sincerely appreciate the dedication exhibited by our committee and board members as well as all of our applicants that make such a tremendous impact throughout our community.” The UWOLC will provide grant funding to 18 programs and the LOU Reads Coalition as part of its FY 2020-2021 grant cycle. Recipients will utilize the awarded funds to implement programs and initiatives in the UWOLC’s four focus areas of education, health, basic needs and financial stability. According to Brummett, financial support from throughout the LOU community is vital as local needs continue to rise. “Our organization and the many worthwhile programs we help fund desperately need the support of our amazing community during these uncertain as well as unsettling times,” Brummett said. “Local needs were growing at an alarming rate before COVID-19 and the economic impacts associated with the pandemic have only caused the disparity between needs and available resources to increase.” “No contribution is too small to make a meaningful difference and our local United Way is proud to provide the means to support several outstanding organizations through a single contribution,” Brummett said. “Each donation we receive is an investment in our community and the returns are immeasurable, especially to the thousands of Lafayette County residents who benefit from the programs and initiatives we support.” The following entities received grant funds in conjunction with the FY 2020-2021 award cycle: Education ($66,550): Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi, Gordon Community & Cultural Center, Inc., Lafayette County Literacy Council, LOU Reads Coalition, and The Leap Frog Program Health ($54,900): Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi, Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Junior Auxiliary of Oxford, North Mississippi Exchange Family Center, Oxford Community Market, and Special Olympics Mississippi (Area 4) Basic Needs ($69,000): CASA of Lafayette County, Interfaith Compassion Ministry, The Salvation Army, and Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging Financial Stability ($9,550): Doors of Hope Transition Ministries and North Mississippi Kidney Foundation The UWOLC partners with its grant recipients as well as numerous other organizations, public entities, businesses, and individuals to make a significant impact within Oxford and Lafayette County. To learn more about the UWOLC or support its mission through a tax-deductible charitable contribution, visit unitedwayoxfordms.org.