The big news at today’s luncheon was the new United Way headquarters building at 1005 Tillman, generously donated by Georgia Pacific.


Billy Rivers and his Angelic Voices set the pace for a new day at the United Way Annual Luncheon.

Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith set the pace for a new day at the United Way Annual Luncheon.

It’s a new day at United Way of the Mid-South.

United Way of the Mid-South celebrated at its annual luncheon on Thursday, March 26 with a new CEO/President, Dr. Kenneth Robinson, a new vision and a new home! Dr. Robinson’s leadership started in February and he has “hit the ground running” with a fresh style of leadership, just in time for United Way’s move to its new, donated headquarters at 1005 Tillman. Georgia Pacific representatives James Barnes and Charmaine Ward announced the donation of the headquarters building to United Way, presenting Dr. Robinson with an oversized golden key as an onscreen animated map showed the path from United Way’s current location to its new address in the north Binghampton / Heights community. The move will take place later this year.

With a crowd of roughly 700 made up of local company employees, partner agencies and area volunteers, this year’s annual luncheon was a great success and received much attention on social media.

Shannon Brown welcomes guests at the United Way Annual Luncheon.

Shannon Brown welcomes guests at the United Way Annual Luncheon.

Shannon Brown, Chairman of the United Way of the Mid-South Board of Directors and Senior Vice President, Chief HR & Diversity Officer for FedEx, welcomed the crowd and shared the Board’s anticipation for the day. Brown’s remarks proved very true as he announced today would be “a historic day in the history of our United Way.” He then introduced Dr. Robinson and a performing choir (Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith) that lifted the audience’s spirits.

Dr. Robinson shared his vision and goals in a presentation that highlighted achievements of United Way’s network and promised even greater future impact for the Mid-South.

Special guest George Cogswell, III “interrupted” the end of the speech to bring a special United Way breaking news report – the announcement of Georgia Pacific’s donation to United Way. Cogswell is also a United Way Board member.

Pam Crittenden Roberson, former television anchor and long-time United Way volunteer working with FedEx served as emcee for the event.

Dr. Kenneth Robinson talks of United Way's new vision.

Dr. Kenneth Robinson talks of United Way’s new vision.

The production would not have been possible without the talents and time of the FedEx events planning team, led by Mary Harvey Gurley, Tom Browning and numerous volunteers playing important roles behind the scenes for the program.

United Way also announced the winner of the 2015 G. Bradley Wanzer, Jr. Award for Excellence is Healing Hearts Child Advocacy Center. Healing Hearts helps abused children, and will receive a $25,000 stipend for their ongoing work.

We will have additional coverage of this event early next week! You can follow many of the posts related to the luncheon by checking #UWMS on Twitter.