Community foundation clarification offered
Last week, as I was waiting for an appointment, I happened across your article “Tis the season for community investment” in the Dec. 13-19, 1999, Mississippi Business Journal.
As with the majority of your pieces I enjoyed it very much. In the text you made comment to Jackson being possibly the only city in Mississippi with a foundation. By now you may or may not know there are several community foundations in our great state.
The East Mississippi Community Foundation serves Meridian, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation serves the entire Coast and the Greater Hattiesburg Community Foundation serves the Pine Belt area.
I am one of the founding board members of the Hattiesburg community foundation and was very excited to see the mention of community foundations in your article. If ever there were a win-win-win situation, it would be that of the community foundation. Besides the tax benefits and flexibility received by its donors, community foundations offer a vehicle in which non-profit organizations can build an endowed base of funds and thus ultimately lead to an overall higher quality of life in the community itself.
Quickly, a Hattiesburg Community Foundation success story: Last year, a long-time Hattiesburg public school teacher died leaving an estate of about $60,000. She had no family outside of a couple of nieces and nephews. Her attorney, who was familiar with the foundation, proposed the idea of setting up a scholarship in that teacher’s name that would benefit anyone pursuing a degree in English. To make a long story short, we awarded the first scholarship from the Eloise T. Hopson Fund. I can assure you that the young lady that was the recipient of that scholarship was very appreciative. Of course the point of this story is that she would not have received this help had the community foundation not been in place.
As you mentioned in your piece, community foundations are the fastest growing area of philanthropy in this country. The problem is that very few folks have an understanding of what they are and how they work. Community foundations can be an incredible asset to any city, and I get excited when I think of how the Hattiesburg foundation will bring positive long-term benefits to our area.
Clarification No. 2
Thank you for writing the column “Tis the season for community investment” in the Dec. 13-19, 1999, edition. We love anyone who promotes philanthropy in our community.
I appreciate your mentioning the Greater Jackson Foundation. I do want to let your readers know that there are other community foundations in Mississippi. There is CREATE in Tupelo, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation on the Coast, the East Mississippi Community Foundation in Meridian and one in West Point. The Foundation for the Mid South, located in Jackson, serves a tri-state area: Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. All of us are working to build endowment funds from which we can make grants in our communities. In addition, there is a movement underway to provide citizens of all counties access to a “local” community foundation.
Community foundations are, as you wrote, the fastest growing form of philanthropy in the country. The are a perfect vehicle for average citizens to employ to make gifts back to their communities.
Linda B. Montgomery, CFRE
Greater Jackson Foundation
Raytheon says thanks
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In general, Mississippi, and specifically central Mississippi, has been fertile soil to grow a highly successful business. The support we received through the years from our community, our chambers of commerce, our political friends, and most importantly, our employees, has ensured that success.
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Thank you and the MBJ for your contribution to our community and for the honor of this most prestigious award.
Daniel Grafton, President
Raytheon Aerospace Company
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