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UNITE Grant Awards to be Presented March 23

Jeff Pannell, CEO of Tennessee Farmers Insurance Company, to speake at UNITE awards dinner.

UNITE (Union County/New Albany Initiative to Excel), New Albany and Union County’s community foundation, will award more than $20,000 to 13 organizations at the annual grant presentation and fundraising dinner on Thursday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church CLC. There is no cost to attend the dinner, however, reservations need to be made by emailing Collett Cross at or texting/calling 662-316-0808.


New Albany native and CEO of Tennessee Farmers Insurance Company (TFIC) Jeff Pannell is the speaker for this special event. Pannell, son of Mary Tate Pannell and the late Jerrell Pannell, is married to the former Deonne Cossitt, and they have two daughters. Pannell, 51, graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1986 and began his TFIC career as an agent in Fayette County. He served as an agency manager, regional manager, and chief marketing officer before being named the chief executive officer in 2016.


UNITE established a UNITE Volunteer of the Year award in 2014 to recognize and honor individuals who unselfishly give of their time and resources in the community.  Rheta Ann West, Bill and Linda Everett, and Joyce Sumners are previous recipients of this award. The 2017 award will be presented during the program.


Grants are awarded annually to non-profit organizations that use grant funds to improve the quality of life for residents of Union County.  Since the first grants were awarded in 2003, approximately 200 grants totaling more than $250,000 have been awarded to approximately 35 organizations. Grant recipients for 2017 include Agape Health Services, Boys and Girls Club, First Choice Center for Women, Junior Auxiliary of New Albany, New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults, Pilot Club of New Albany, New Albany Symphony League, Union County Development Association Leadership Academy, Union County Good Samaritan Center, Union County Historical Society and Museum, Union County Library, Union County Literacy Council, and Union County Master Gardeners.


The diverse range of recipients have utilized funds to supply food and utility assistance to hundreds of individuals in need, enhance cultural opportunities in the community, aid in disaster relief, preserve the history of the community, provide a safe place for children after school and during the summer, and many other needful and worthwhile projects.


Tax-deductible contributions to UNITE from individuals, businesses, agencies, and organizations support the grant program. The Board of Directors asks that individuals consider UNITE when giving memorials or honorariums, end-of-year-giving and estate planning.   A contribution to UNITE is a perpetual gift that stays in Union County.  Contributions to UNITE may be mailed to P. O. Box 125, New Albany. More information can be accessed online at and you may follow UNITE on Facebook at UNITE Community Foundation.

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