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Photo by Sue Watson

Pictured, from left, are George Zinn III, Christy Owens, Bob Bowen (back), Dorothy Stigall and Deb McCullough.

Community Foundation visits

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi and its Maddox Foundation Volunteer Center came to Marshall County recently to share information on its services to nonprofits.

The Community Foundation, which serves an 11-county area, works with many smaller foundations and nonprofits to share information and network.

It was established in 2002 with a grant from the Maddox Foundation. It assists donors, as well as nonprofit organizations and charitable causes.

Donors can designate specific projects to which they want their charitable contributions to be applied.

Priority areas for funding are education, health care and youth – in order to make the greatest impact on communities.

In short, the Foundation is the link between people who care and the causes that matter, the ones affecting the quality of life of Northwest Mississippians.

It does this by donating to nonprofits and helping establish permanent community endowments.

The Community Foundation is located at 315 South Losher Street in Hernando. Tom Pittman is president and CEO of the Community Foundation.

The Foundation has awarded $20 million in grants since 2002 to over 420 charitable organizations to make a difference in the lives of people in communities. Such funded activities help establish healthy eating and active living to lower Mississippi’s childhood obesity rate. High school students learn about finances, how to pay for college and how to protect their credit scores. Young children get school supplies and autistic children receive assistance.

The Community Foundation connects donors with project needs.

Brenda Smith explained how the Northwest Hub for Volunteers and Nonprofits helps people get connected online. A common calendar makes it possible to list a community’s events and to connect events with volunteers on Get Connected, an online hub for volunteers for nonprofits. It is a great site to learn about what other neighbors are doing and the events they sponsor.

Endow Mississippi strengthens charitable giving in Mississippi. It is a state tax credit program that provides an incentive to encourage individuals, businesses and organizations to make lasting investments in their local communities through charitable giving. The Mississippi Legislature created Endow Mississippi in 2019 to encourage giving to permanent endowments at qualified community foundations like the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.

Donors can join the tax credit savings plan at the entry level of $1,000 and the donation entitles the donor to a 25 percent tax credit savings. One’s state taxes are reduced by $250 when he or she gives $1,000 to a community foundation. Donors can deduct the remainder – $750 – as a charitable gift for state tax purposes.

The Endow Mississippi tax credit applies only to gifts to permanent endowed funds at qualified Mississippi community foundations like the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. Applications are due now for those who want to take advantage of the tax credit this year. And the tax credits are limited as the Legislature provided for a set number of these credits.

Gifts can go to an existing endowment or a newly-created one.

The endowed fund provides annual granting at 5 percent or less so that the endowment fund continually grows but also provides sustained funding for the projects supported. It promotes charitable giving in Mississippi, for Mississippi.

During the meeting of the Community Foundation with local nonprofits at the Marshall County Library, a number of individuals in attendance were invited to share their affiliations.

These included:

• Christy Owens, executive director of the Holly Springs Main Street Chamber.

• Fannie Lampley with ICS Head Start.

• Deb McCullough with Hearts and Hands of Byhalia (food, clothing, counseling).

• Dorothy Stigall, with North Mississippi Community Research, Training and Development, food pantry and tutoring.

• George Zinn III, president of NMSRTD, offering tutoring program for youth, basic computer training for adults, food pantry every Tuesday, and Christmas Cheer Committee (clothes, toys, food).

• Mayor Phil Malone of the Town of Byhalia.

• Sarah Sawyer, member of the board of directors of the Community Foundation and executive director of the Byhalia Area Chamber Main Street.

• Faye Woods with the Byhalia Area Arts Council, which focuses on education and support of the arts in schools in the visual and performing arts; the Byhalia Art Club.

• Albert Jones and Jim Smith with Knights of Columbus.

• Janet Jolley, Extension agent with MSU Extension Service, with focus on consumer science, home economy, agriculture and 4-H, Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers and Happy Quilters.

• Amanda Knecht, director, Marshall County Library System and president of the Marshall County Humane Society.

• Tyrisha Battle, executive director of Holly Springs Tourism Bureau, promoting visitors and tourism in the area.

• Betty Burch, an interested citizen wanting to learn more about the community’s nonprofits.

• Leona Harris, executive director of the Ida B. Wells Museum and Cultural Center, Holly Springs. The museum was a recipient of a small grant from the Community Foundation to sponsor an oral history project.

• Stephen Bittick, Byhalia United Methodist Church, whose mission is “to convert our community to Christ.” The church partners with Hearts and Hands.

• Gary Adams, representing the Rotary Family Youth Initiative, working to reduce juvenile crime.

• Mitch Robinson with Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, seeking funds for the transportation of children, by bus, to the center to experience nature.

• Johnnie Ree and Russell Johnson, historic preservation.

• Walter Webb, with the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery in Holly Springs.

• David Person, Historic Preservation Commission and racial reconciliation.

• Jim Knox, chair of Historic Preservation Commission, Holly Springs - promoting Holly Springs.

• Jeff Bell, homeless shelter facilities manager, Bishop Houck New Hope Village.

• Bob and Sheryl Bowen. Bob serves on the board of directors for the Community Foundation and Sheryl serves on the advisory board of directors for the Audubon Center in Holly Springs.

Teresa Erickson, with endowments, competitive grants and planned giving at the Community Foundation, expressed joy at the participation in Holly Springs.

She praised the energy and the synergy in the audience which she said was “one of the best we’ve seen so far.”

For additional information on the Community Foundation, visit

Smith praised the collaboration that was felt when everyone shared information about their programs.

“Everyone shared how their nonprofit interacts with other nonprofits to greatly improve the quality of life in Marshall County,” Smith said. “We got a sense that you have just begun.”

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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