Thursday, February 2, 2006

County looks to launch fund-raising


A group of local leaders met recently with Tom Pittman, president of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, about setting up an endowment fund for Marshall County.

“They would raise the money and decide how to spend it, and we would handle all the in-between work,” said Pittman. “Every $1 put in the endowment fund, the Community Foundation would match it.”

The meeting was held at the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority building in Holly Springs.

Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce, said the meeting was an introduction to what the Community Foundation can do for Marshall County.

“We can take endowments and give back money to our communities with the help of the Community Foundation,” Sawyer said. “This has a lot of advantages.”

Pittman said the Foundation would simply manage the fund, getting a better return for Marshall County by pooling all of the money.

The Community Foundation is already incorporated as a 501.c.3.

The Foundation serves eight counties in Northwest Mississippi – DeSoto, Tunica, Tate, Marshall, Coahoma, Quitman, Panola and Tallahatchie.

Its mission is to impact communities by connecting people who care with causes that matter. Priorities for causes have been established as education, health care and children.

The Foundation was born out of a cooperative project in 2000 to place an online computer in every DeSoto County classroom. More than 100 donors quickly donated more than $100,000 to make DeSoto the first county in Mississippi to accomplish this goal as a pilot project for the state. This project propelled Mississippi to become the first state in the nation with an online computer in every public school classroom.

After this success, a local steering committee met for more than two years, and the Foundation was begun in January 2002.

Pittman urges others in Marshall County to host a meeting about the Foundation and what it can do for the county.

For more information, contact him at 662-449-5002.

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