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Phoenix Club group shot.

ALAN TURNER — The Phoenix Club: Working to make things better for underserved youth

ALAN TURNER

Originally founded in Memphis in the 1950s, the Phoenix Club has grown to include chapters in numerous cities. The Phoenix Club of Jackson was founded in 2007, and has grown to include more than 90 members who are bankers, attorneys, educators, government leaders, and more. It’s a club for professionals who are 24-35 years old, and its goal is to raise money and promote awareness for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Jackson and Canton.

I recently had a discussion about the Phoenix Club with its current President, Ross Weems. Ross serves as a Vice President with BankPlus, and is active not only in his leadership role with the Phoenix Club, but also in other community events and causes.

“I’m very fortunate to work for a company like BankPlus, which is very supportive of community service,” he told me.

I ask him to define the mission of the Phoenix Club, and he said their firm goal is to “allow the area’s young people to grow and prosper”.

He told me that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Jackson and Canton serve over 2,400 kids, and since its founding, the Phoenix Club of Jackson has raised over $500,000 to support those clubs. In 2017, the Club raised over $80,000, and they expect to raise more than $90,000 this year. The accomplish their goals through a variety of fundraising events and activities, including an annual golf tournament, a Christmas card campaign, corporate sponsorships, and other activities.

“This is a great opportunity for young professionals to make a difference in the lives of these underserved kids,” Ross said. “I’d say our members are very enthusiastic and committed to making things better, and we’ve seen some wonderful success stories as a result of the work done by the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs.”

Ross told me that “more than 90 percent of the kids served by the Boys and Girls Clubs in Jackson and Canton are from low income households, and over 65 percent are from single parent households.”

“It’s all about great results,” he told me. “95 percent of the kids who are involved with the Boys and Girls clubs graduate on time, and 80 percent go on to some form of further education. It’s all about giving them the opportunity to create a brighter future.”

The Phoenix Club of Jackson has no paid staff, and thus is a 100 percent volunteer organization.

“Our members love the opportunity to interact with the kids,” he said. “We have ice cream socials and other opportunities to get acquainted with the kids, and they always enjoy it.”

As Ross explained it, the Boys and Girls Clubs are committed both to teaching and athletics, and also to “letting the kids have some good clean fun,” as he put it.

“We know this has a major positive impact on these kids’ lives,” he said. “They learn important skills and develop abilities that will serve them well into their adult years.”

For those who would like to learn more about the Phoenix Club or possibly to get involved, visit their website at PhoenixClubofJackson.com.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1021.

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