Russell Turley is president of the Phoenix Club of Jackson, which started in 2007 and raises money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi.
Q — How did the Phoenix Club get started?
A — As a result of experiences with the original Phoenix Club in Memphis, a group of young professionals (Brad Reeves, Bo Zimmerman, Travis Ezelle and Micajah Sturdivant) decided to replicate the mission in Mississippi. Strong Phoenix Clubs have recently been created in Nashville and Birmingham as Memphis Phoenicians relocated and hoped to recreate the club in new cities.
Boys and Girls Clubs are generally located in sites where a large percentage of its support base doesn’t live or work. Building awareness about this worthwhile organization across the greater community is critical to its sustainability.
Ask any business leader in the City of Memphis who the Phoenix Club of Memphis is, and not only will most of them know the organization, but they will state that they were proud to be a part of it when they were starting out in their careers, serve on a Boys and Girls Clubs board or have their business support the mission today.
One of our recent lunch speakers was Jim Barksdale, former Phoenix Club of Memphis member.
Q — What’s the club’s mission? And how does it carry out that mission?
A — “To significantly impact the direction of our community’s youth by raising funds in a social setting that challenges young professional men to be community leaders.”
The Phoenix Club of Jackson raises money and awareness for the wonderful kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi through various social events, a Holiday Greeting Card Campaign, Birdies for Charity and monthly business lunches.
Joining the club offers a myriad of benefits, including meeting great friends, building business relationships with the city’s movers, shakers and leaders, and attending events like cocktail parties, business lunches and golf outings.
Today, the club includes roughly 60 men between the ages of 25-35 each committed to this mission.
Q — What led to the decision to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi?
A — Our by-laws demand it. It is the only organization that we can provide funds to because we, like the other Southeastern organizations, recognize the need and opportunities we can provide.
Q — How much has been raised since the club started in 2007?
A — Our goal was to raise $120,000 by 2012 — and we did.
(The club has raised a total of) over $150,000 in five years. For a start-up 501(c)3, we are pleased with our performance, but recognize that there is so much more we can do both for awareness and dollars generated for the kids.
We are fortunate to work with a great executive director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi, Billy Redd, who recognizes the long-term impact the Phoenix Club of Jackson can provide.
Today, we are members of the Phoenix Club. In our 40s, we are board members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi. In our 50s, we are business leaders making civic-supporting decisions. In our retirement, we are thinking about estate planning and the good that support for BGCCM would provide.
Q — What’s the club’s latest fundraising target?
A — We hope to raise $45,000 this year.
Visit our website (www.phoenixclubofjackson.com) to learn more about this organization and see if someone in your business might already be serving the kids of our greater Jackson community. If you don’t have someone on our roster, find out how to get them to be a part of the momentum that we recognize.
Q — What kind of events does the club hold to raise money?
A — We have two annual fundraising events. The first of which is Speakeasy Soiree, a 1920s-themed event, held in January. The second is Seersucker and Sombrero’s, a joint celebration of the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo, held in May. These events are very important to not only raise money, but to raise awareness in the community about what we do.
For more information please see our website, Facebook page and Twitter page.
Q — When is the next such event?
A — Seersucker and Sombrero’s will be held on Saturday, May 5 at River Hills Club from 2-8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. Tickets can be purchased from any member, or by visiting our website.
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