United Way selects board

United Way of Southwest Georgia Vice Chairman Perry Revell says the agency is committed to changing the perception of United Way.

United Way of Southwest Georgia Vice Chairman Perry Revell says the agency is committed to changing the perception of United Way.

ALBANY — United Way of Southwest Georgia held its annual meeting Monday at its office on Westover Boulevard, where awards of appreciation were presented to top contributors and partners from the 2011 fiscal year.

Mrs. Jane Willson was awarded membership in the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a special United Way recognition for those who contribute $10,000 or more annually.

The Top Contributor Award was presented to Procter and Gamble. Publix Super Markets, in both Albany and Lee County received Community Commitment Awards, while The Caring Connection Award was given to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for its efforts in health education. United Way’s Campaign Partner Agency Award went to the Albany Advocacy Resource Center, and the Valued Commitment and Community Contribution Award was presented to Jeff Wright on behalf of Draffin and Tucker.

According to Perry Revell, vice chairman of the United Way of Southwest Georgia and incoming board chairman, there is a complete list of board members to be ratified for the fiscal year that begins June 1. The new board members are Jason Rooks with Flint Bank & Lee County Chamber of Commerce; LaToya Cutts, director Community & Economic Development; city of Albany; Beverly Willson, Sunnyland Farms; Gregg Boxx, manager of the Dawson Road Publix, and Steve Woodham, who will act as campaign chairman for the new fiscal year. All but Woodham must be ratified at next month’s United Way meeting, Revell said.

Officers to be installed are Perry Revell, chairman; Rachelle Scott, vice chairman; Melissa Kennedy, treasurer; Natalie Collier, secretary, and Jim Deal, past chairman.

“We’re committed to changing the perception of this United Way in terms of how we partner with the agencies,” Revell said. “You’re going to see improved partnerships and you’ll see improved marketing. It’s going to be a lot different.”

During an address at the meeting, Revell said he was “thrilled and honored” with the choice of Lakisha Bryant, who comes from six years with Girls Inc., as the new director and CEO of the United Way of Southwest Georgia. He promised a marketing campaign for 2012 “like you’ve never seen before,” saying the efforts will begin June 1, rather than in September, which has been the historical starting time for new campaigns.

According to Revell, the additional time will allow United Way to call on businesses that haven’t been solicited before, including those in Lee County.

Contribution levels for United Way of Southwest Georgia’s current fiscal year fell below its $1.3 million goal with an amount “just short” of $1.1 million, Revell said.