Today I want to talk about The Manning Family Fund for A Healthier Mississippi.
We launched this effort last year to raise money in support of the many UMMC programs that are making a difference in the health of our state's citizens.
And we've just kicked off Year Two, with ads on electronic billboards, in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio, and in social media. These spots highlight stories of patients for whom our faculty and staff did indeed make a dramatic difference. To learn more about this effort, visit https://www.manningsforhealth.org/
What draws people's attention, of course, are the Mannings themselves - Archie and Olivia, Eli and his wife, Abby. They are iconic figures in Mississippi, especially during football season, when the name Manning evokes images of gridiron glory.
In the world of sports and entertainment, the Mannings would be called “celebrity spokespersons” on behalf of UMMC. While that label may be accurate on some level, it doesn't quite seem to fit the Mannings, who are the nicest, most down-to-earth people you would ever want to meet.
They also truly care about the cause they are promoting. Our association with the Mannings goes back nearly a decade, and they have interacted with our patients and staff on many occasions. They have come to understand all the good UMMC does and, if we had the resources, could do for our state. And they want to help.
Of course, it's the Mannings' authentic commitment and their genuine humility that makes them such valuable partners in working with us toward our goals.
One of the neat features of this campaign has been its ability to reach the grassroots community. Nearly 70 percent of contributors so far have been first-time givers to UMMC. This tells us that people are hearing our message and signing on to the cause, hopefully as long-term supporters.
This is another positive indicator of the growing success of our development program. Last year was our most successful fundraising year ever, with $19.1 million in gifts received. As pressure mounts on all of our other revenue sources, philanthropy will be increasingly important to us in the years ahead.
This leads me to my list of “Thank Yous”:
Thanks to all of you who supported our employee-focused “Giving Starts Here” campaign. Your commitment not only makes a direct impact on our success, it's noted by foundations who routinely ask about the extent to which UMMC is supported philanthropically by its own employees. If you still want to donate but weren't able to do so during campaign week, visit https://www.umc.edu/givingstartshere/
Thanks to our Development and Marketing teams for all the hard work that went into the most recent Manning campaign. That also goes to our physicians, staff and patients who participated. Your stories inspire us.
And finally, thanks to the Mannings for once again volunteering their time and their famous name to this cause we all believe in and live every day. Having their support gets us that much closer to A Healthier Mississippi.
P.S. Next week I'll look forward to answering some of your recent questions.