CACM Launches Endowment Fund at CFM and Matching Gift Campaign

Children's Advocacy Centers of Mississippi logoIf you could help Mississippi children in abusive situations have a streamlined experience to report trauma, would you? That’s a question the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) asks often.

With a new endowment fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, CACM hopes to support its mission to revolutionize child abuse – forever.

For over 20 years, CACM and its affiliated children’s advocacy centers have provided a community-based, child-friendly, and trauma-informed network to coordinate a multidisciplinary response to child maltreatment allegations. At a children’s advocacy center, children can speak to a forensic interviewer trained to understand child development, manage bias, and identify secondary trauma and other best practices for interviewing children.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, CACM is kickstarting the fund with a $50,000 matching challenge during the month of September.

“We are incredibly grateful to the family who has chosen to help provide the start-up funding for our new Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi Endowment Fund,” said Karla Tye, CACM’s Executive Director. “Establishing an endowment, this generous family is providing an avenue for every citizen to be a part of protecting children. By supporting CACM, you will join our vision of transforming Mississippi by defeating child abuse.”

Paired with the Endow Mississippi state tax credit for gifts to endowed funds at Mississippi community foundations, Tye says there is no better way to help support their mission.

“Like all gifts, the endowment will assist us in securing our mission to revolutionize Mississippi’s response to child abuse. Donors are a critically important part of making our work a reality. Establishing an endowment is a powerful tool and takes gift-giving one step further by creating a dependable and perpetual source of financial support.  The matching gift challenges Mississippians to assist us in securing the full amount of the $50,000 gift. Paired with Endow Mississippi’s tax credit, your gift today will help children’s tomorrows be better than their yesterdays.”

As an endowment fund at a qualified community foundation in Mississippi, donors are eligible for a state tax credit equal to 25 percent of their gift through Endow Mississippi. This program offers an incentive to encourage individuals, businesses and organizations to make lasting investments in their local communities through charitable giving. The minimum qualifying gift is $1,000.

These gifts strengthen CACM’s ability to continue their work such as the Child Advocacy Training Institute. Located in Jackson, the Institute is utilized by Child Advocacy Studies programs for educational and real-world simulation purposes for law enforcement, social workers and others who might encounter abuse and neglect. The center accommodates multiple live scenarios simultaneously, which are modeled after real-life cases. This hands-on training enables professionals to recognize, react, and respond appropriately in circumstances where children are experiencing or may be at risk of child maltreatment. Tye said Mississippi is leading the national initiative to expand experiential learning opportunities for students related to the protection of children.

“CACM has developed statewide programs within the colleges and universities for students on effectively addressing child abuse and neglect in real-world applications. This program is instrumental in preparing students with the skills to properly identify and respond to child abuse cases as a part of their professional career,” she said. “We are creating a workforce far better prepared to address the complexities of child abuse.”

Support the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi here. Learn more and download an Endow Mississippi application here.

Supporting Others Through Substance Abuse: Robert Malouf, Jr. Memorial Fund

Lee Malouf (left) and Robert Malouf, Jr. (right)

Robert Malouf, Jr.’s life was full of promise. In his high school days at Jackson Prep, he was active in sports, graduating in 2009. He then moved on to the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. After graduation, he was employed at Trustmark National Bank. He was loved by his family and had many friends. His mother, Lee Malouf, said he had a way of making people feel comfortable and at ease. In January 2017, at the age of 25, Robert died from an accidental opioid overdose. That year alone, over 45,000 lives were lost from opioid overdose.

“When he passed away, I started learning about substance abuse disorder and addiction,” his mother said, reflecting on her son. “So often, people only think that people do drugs or get high just to have fun. For him, it was also about getting everyday balance in his life. It is sad and there is so much stigma around it.”

Lee has learned a lot since those initial days of shock in 2017. First, she attended town hall meetings with Stand Up Mississippi and book discussions with End It For Good which led to work with initiatives like Mississippi Harm Reduction. Recognizing gaps in the substance abuse disorder community, Lee opened the Robert Malouf, Jr. Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi to honor his legacy and to assist many struggling with addiction.

“I have wanted to create a fund for a while. There were so many people who responded after his passing and many friends who have kept up with me,” she said. “People want to help in some way. I hope there will be a great deal of impact in the community.”

Lee would like to see more sober living homes come to fruition, which provides the next step after rehab. There is a particularly great need for sober living homes for women and pregnant women. Additionally, Lee is interested in providing support to disadvantaged persons who do not have the funds to pay for treatment and housing.

Another gap identified is transportation to take people to and from sober living homes to twelve-step programs, doctor’s appointments, work and other aspects of everyday life. Many simply cannot afford the next step, Lee said, and need help finding jobs. “It’s a huge benefit to be able to go to these sober living homes as a step towards getting out in the real world.”

Every day, 128 continue to die from opioid overdose around the country, leaving family, friends and community behind. Lee says, there is more we can do.

“Addiction is not a moral failing or a weakness. It is a complicated health issue. Since my son’s death, I began to meet people in recovery who had struggled with addiction, and I listened to their stories. Like most of us, their stories were of the joys and sorrows of life, and the turns their lives had taken when they made their best and worst choices. I realized they were people very much like me, and their stories give me hope.”

Making Space for Film in Mississippi

Thabi Moyo, Ryan Parker and Nina Parikh stand together.
Ryan Parker (center) stands with Thabi Moyo (left) and Nina Parikh (right) of the Mississippi Film Office at Sundance Film Festival in 2020.

Growing up in Brookhaven, movies were a big part of Ryan Parker’s life. On weekends, he was refreshing his stack of VHS rentals. Or, attending the local four-screen movie theatre – a luxury not offered in many small Mississippi towns.

“Film brings together writing, visuals, music – all of it together. I don’t know of anything like it. I think good films can change your life. I think they can change the way you see the world, the way you see other people,” said Parker, reflecting on the power of film. “They are empathy engines, in my mind, when done well. I think about films in my life that had as much impact as any class I’ve taken or sermon I’ve sat through. Bringing films like that to Mississippi, creating space and setting the table for that is so important.”

While his weekends at Brookhaven’s Regal Cinema are behind him, Parker has his sights on building a bigger table for film in Mississippi through the newly formed Mississippi Film Society. He hopes to use the organization as a launching pad to educate, inspire and entertain Mississippians through community screenings, film curriculum, lectures, workshops and, in the near future, a film festival. To help bring his vision to life, Parker recently opened the Mississippi Film Society Fund and Mississippi Film Society Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi to support operations and ensure sustainability for generations to come.

Creating community, he says, has been the heart of this process since he first started conversations about the society after moving back to Mississippi in 2021. Parker has been involved in the film industry for years, first on the academic side, earning his Ph.D. in faith and film at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley. Parker settled into a career on the publicity and marketing side of films – a strength that is helping him create connections as the Society gets off the ground.

“I’ve been arranging film events around the country for the past nine years,” he said. “Studios often have a list of cities where they want to stream things for word of mouth or test screenings. We’ve always argued that they’re ignoring vibrant communities (like Jackson).”

Connecting films to audiences outside the east and west coasts is an important part of his work. Through the Society, he hopes to fill the gap in smaller Mississippi communities without theatres, working with partners along the way.

“If you’re a community organizer, or if you’re working in the community in some capacity, whether you’re an educator, a faith leader, or a civic leader, and you’re interested in bringing film screenings to your community, I encourage them to reach out to me and let’s see if we can set something up. I have the equipment and can help with screening licenses,” he said.

Education is also part of the Mississippi Film Society’s first phase. Parker credits the Mississippi Film Office and others with empowering and educating young people about being film producers, especially with the rise in film productions around the state. He hopes the Society can also educate Mississippians about the power of film, being better film consumers and visual literacy. These efforts, he hopes, will lead to a film festival in 2025.

Parker acknowledges the void left by Crossroads Film Society, which last held its film festival in 2020, hoping the Society can grow into a strong regional film festival, in addition to regular programming, over time.

Working with the Community Foundation for Mississippi, he says, has been a perfect fit as the Society gets its feet on the ground.

“I would have never thought about an endowment, but I want this organization to be funded and passed off for future generations. I had only thought about an operating budget and how we can make money to pay for licensing fees, theatre rentals, marketing and everything it takes to make an organization run,” he said. “CFM empowers me to do things I couldn’t do in Los Angeles. Event organizations like this can’t exist without financial support. How CFM connects donors to organizations – that’s not my skill set. Having that is a huge help.”

Learn more about the Mississippi Film Society at msfilmsociety.org. Click to support the Mississippi Film Society Fund and Mississippi Film Society Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi. Donations over $1,000 to the Mississippi Film Society Endowment Fund qualify for the Endow Mississippi 25% state tax credit.

Can journalism bring people together in Mississippi?

Virtual Meeting. What if journalism could bring people together in Mississippi. September 19, 10-11:30 a.m.Can journalism bring people together in Mississippi? What would it mean for our state?

Clickbait headlines, sensationalism, daily conflict, alarmist reporting — it’s enough to make a lot of people tune out the news altogether. Coupled with the decline of traditional community newspapers, many people in philanthropy are asking: How can we strengthen journalism for the sake of our democracy?

Since 2018, the Community Foundation for Mississippi has been connecting philanthropy with ways to make a strategic impact around journalism in Mississippi.

In addition to bringing in dollars, we also see the benefit of bringing in new ideas.

In 2023, the Community Foundation began researching the methods of Constructive Journalism, as defined and advocated by the Denmark-based Constructive Institute. This method of journalism aims to help societies come together and find common ground, as opposed to emphasizing conflict and opposing viewpoints. The goal is not to smooth over problems, but rather to add hope.

Questions we have been pursuing include:

  • Can journalism bring people together in Mississippi? How? Why?
  • What gaps and opportunities do people in Mississippi see in their state and local coverage?
  • How can journalism bring unengaged and marginalized groups into civic dialogue?
  • Can adopting a different role help existing media outlets better serve their communities AND financially survive? How?

Journalists report the facts and hold leaders accountable. But that’s not the end of the story.

To ground our efforts in a Mississippi audience perspective, we interviewed a diverse group of 20 people from every corner of the state. Our audience saw value both in journalism’s traditional purposes and in its opportunities to move things forward in Mississippi.

The people we heard from described specific opportunities for journalism to play a key role in community-building and problem-solving at the state and local levels. They also pointed to the media’s power to define Mississippi’s narrative.

The stories our journalists tell, and the ways they tell them, shape how we see our communities and ourselves.

What does Constructive Journalism look like in practice? Could it actually work — and make a difference — in Mississippi? Let’s find out together.

Virtual Meeting: Sept. 19, 10-11:30 a.m.

The Community Foundation for Mississippi is inviting all media members statewide to learn, ask questions and share their feedback about Constructive Journalism.

The virtual meeting will share examples of what this method looks like in practice. We will also share ideas from Mississippians about topics they think could benefit from this approach.

The Community Foundation wants to know:

  • What do you think of the idea?
  • How does it relate to what you already do?
  • What training and resources would you need to practice more of it?

WHAT: An open, virtual meeting to share examples of Constructive Journalism from overseas, alongside insights from a diverse audience of Mississippians.

WHO: Any and all journalists, reporters, editors, broadcasters, bloggers, podcasters and content creators in Mississippi. Community stakeholders are invited, too.

WHY: To gather feedback, ideas and questions from media members, and to begin forming a network of practical resources for those who are interested.

HOW: Sign up to receive the Zoom meeting invitation by email and be added to future communications about this effort.

CFM Announces 2023 Community Impact Grant Recipients

The Community Foundation for Mississippi announces twenty grant recipients through its Community Impact Grants to support projects aligned with CFM’s focus areas: children and families, community partnerships and placemaking. This grant program supports project grants up to $5,000 for organizations within CFM’s 22 county service area. All Community Impact Grants are supported through its donor-supported Community Trust Fund.

Community Impact Grant Awards will support the work of grantees working in the following areas:

Children and Families

  • Southwest Mississippi Multiplex for Early Innovative Intervention Studies to support “Jackie’s Readers,” a monthly literary circle for McComb teens to inspire leadership and youth reading skills.
  • Jackson Medical Mall Foundation to support the “Young Futurists Project,” an intergenerational effort to create a youth innovation hub that simultaneously celebrates and centers youth as creators while also providing opportunities and resources to support parent engagement and keeping families connected.
  • Hope Hollow Ministries to launch a cooking club where children with disabilities can gather with their peers to use their creativity and learn the joy of cooking.
  • Jackson Public Schools to support “Checkmate Champions,” a project to re-establish chess clubs at each of Jackson Public Schools’ seven high schools.
  • KMARTIN GROUP to support “Carolyn’s Clubhouse: a Healthy Early Literacy Learning Project” that will work to build early literacy skills, foster a love for reading and promote positive social-emotional development and early learning for students in K-3rd grade.
  • Stewpot Community Services to support “Tending to Teen Health,” a project to provide mindfulness-based expertise practice and therapeutic counseling opportunities to teens in Stewpot’s after-school program to build skills that promote physical and mental health.
  • The Mississippi Chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association to support “More Mississippi Kids on Bikes Try It Out Program,” an effort to use mountain biking as a tool to connect 6th-12th grade to healthy physical outdoor activities, building confidence and fostering teamwork.
  • Ferst Readers of Lincoln County, MS to support their “Book Buddies” program, where they will partner with Lincoln County Head Start to provide books that support kindergarten readiness to all students and classroom monthly over the period of 12 months.
  • The Mississippi Center for Police & Sheriffs to support building accessibility ramps for four families suffering from medical, disability and mobility issues.

Community Partnerships

  • Art For All Mississippi to support its “Arts Inclusion for Veterans and Senior Citizens,” a six-month arts workshop in partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, (Post 9832), at the Arts Center of Mississippi.
  • Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life to support the “Literacy Achievement Bonanza,” a week-long program full of literacy-based activities designed to foster a positive relationship with reading while improving literacy skills in age, skill, and developmentally-appropriate methods aligned with the College and Career Readiness Standards.
  • New Stage Theatre to support its efforts to introduce live theatre and art-in-education to hundreds of students throughout the 2023-2024 school year.
  • Greater Bethlehem Temple to support for its Community Fair to provide social, medical, mental, and legal services to the general population, while also celebrating children with a carnival and free refreshments for all.
  • Mississippi Early Learning Alliance to support the “Leading From Strength: A Leadership Cohort for Childcare Directors of Color,” a project to support a nine-month empowerment network cohort that will provide learning experiences to promote the professional advancement of women of color working in early care and education.

Placemaking

  • Church Triumphant Global to support the “Jackson Community Concrete Farmers Market,” a project that will utilize abandoned lots to provide city residents with access to free, nutritious foods and to access to education to encourage healthy lifestyles.
  • Operation Shoestring to support “History for the Holidays: Activating Oral History in Central Jackson,” a project that will build upon the organization’s ongoing oral history training program for central Jackson community members and support recording micro-oral histories by participants.
  • The Mississippi Humanities Council to support “Nuestro Mississippi”, an ongoing partnership with the Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity to document central Mississippi’s Latino community through photography and oral history.
  • Riverside Collective Holdings to support “Transforming Communities with Art: Empowering Students as Creative Entrepreneurs,” a project that places community members, local non-profits, grade school students and young creatives in dialogue to collectively reimagine public space resulting in the design of participatory murals.
  • Pike School of Art to support “LOCKED / LABELED: Stories of Juvenile Incarceration,” a project that brings to light the untold stories of Pike County’s juvenile detention system by allowing individuals who, as children, were once confined within its walls, to revisit the spaces that once defined their lives and share their stories through film and photography.
  • Center for Social Entrepreneurship to support “Hope Rising: Community Transformation through Public Art” an effort to use community public art to ignite a sense of hope, foster renewed pride and inspire transformation in an underserved community in Jackson.

“The Community Impact Grant is the anchor of our Community Trust Fund competitive grant opportunities, which allow grantees across our 22-county service area to gain support for innovative projects across our focus areas,” said Melody Moody-Thortis, Director of Strategic Impact. “These grantees represent a wide swath of projects that support placemaking, children and families and community partnerships. We are eager to see and celebrate their successes. As a funder committed to the communities we serve, CFM is also offering every applicant to our competitive grant programs, regardless of CFM funding, access to grant writing technical assistance and, whenever possible, connections to like-minded donors as part of our core commitment to the long-term sustainability of nonprofits.”

Are you a nonprofit in CFM’s 22-county service area that would like to stay in the loop on new grant opportunities? Fill out our nonprofit information form here.

Job Opportunity: Content Creator – Jackson Association of Neighborhoods

The Jackson Association of Neighborhoods (JAN) content creator is a community-focused education and engagement effort funded by Community Foundation for Mississippi through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This project seeks to keep Jackson residents informed about issues affecting their daily lives and equipped to participate in collaborative solutions. 

Currently, the project is working to create community information systems to help residents connect with their neighborhoods and the greater city, particularly during times of crisis. This work will include connecting residents to timely information, creating mechanisms for local mobilization during emergencies, and communicating effectively, allowing residents to network at the neighborhood level. 

This digital storyteller will develop, draft, and publish fact-based multimedia news and human-interest stories, collaborating with neighbors to humanize complex issues and collect oral histories. Housed at the Jackson Association of Neighborhoods, the content creator will also support the related programs of the JAN Board of Trustees and its committees. This role will use the constructive journalism model, requiring a deep understanding and thoughtful application of digital content (e.g., text, photos, and video) across multiple channels and platforms.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Generate creative storytelling concepts and ideas to inform and engage a diverse group of residents and business owners in the City of Jackson
  • Create compelling copy, photos, and videos for a website and social channels
  • Proofread copy and captions before submission or posting
  • Communicate with residents, business owners, elected officials, and other stakeholders to identify, develop, and curate stories. 
  • Conduct research to identify topics of interest and relevance to residents and business owners
  • Schedule, conduct, and edit interviews for use online 
  • Monitor news stories and develop content and stories that “fill the gaps” and “dig deeper” into breaking news and ongoing stories
  • Draft social media content to support story publication on social media channels
  • Produce surveys and email newsletters for targeted audiences
  • Assist JAN with mapping projects, visualizing communities for the JAN website
  • Organize and edit written content to support readability, accessibility consistency, clarity, and equity
  • Write stories from a constructive journalism lens
  • Build relationships in the community and take advantage of in-person opportunities to get to know people from different backgrounds
  • Responsible for grant reporting and outcome tracking, including recommendations for program sustainability

Preferred Skill and Experience:

  • Journalism or integrated marketing communications background and training is preferred
  • Experience in graphic design, photography, multimedia content creation and social media writing and management preferred
  • Knowledge of AP style
  • Self-motivated, curious, and a willingness to learn 
  • Experience setting up and conducting virtual and in-person interviews
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Knowledge of video and audio editing
  • Knowledge of mapping software
  • Willing to participate in anti-bias and ethics training, and mindful of the lived experiences and cultural lens of Jackson, Mississippi as content is created

This position is a contract position funded by a two-year grant. To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and a portfolio with three writing samples, three social media posts, and two other samples of your choice (preferably photos or videos). Email materials to Sophie McNeil Wolf at sophie@formississippi.org no later than 11:59 p.m. on September 22, 2023 with the subject line “JAN Content Creator.”

Making the Impossible Possible: Briarwood Arts Center

Stephen Brown stands in front of the Briarwood Arts Center.
Stephen Brown stands in front of the Briarwood Arts Center. (Image: Drew Dempsey/Tell Agency)

What if there was a place where if you had an idea, there was a space to make it happen? Anime club? Yep. Basic sewing? Absolutely. Nonprofit board meeting? Of course. Plant swaps? Why not?

At Briarwood Arts Center (BAC), what may seem impossible becomes possible. BAC is building a bigger table for entrepreneurs and hobbyists to explore an interest and for the community to gather. From the “Creative Kitchen” with sewing supplies, a Cricut vinyl cutting machine, and candle-making supplies to “Cole’s House,” a music studio and lab, BAC makes ideas accessible for those wanting to hone their skills. And that’s just the start of it. BAC hosts events across the spectrum, from the ACT Prep Club to Anime and basic gardening, Afro-Carribean dance to youth mentorship meetings.

And, if you don’t see an interest covered, founder Stephen Brown says, just wait. “The space continues to evolve based on what the community needs and wants it to be.”

Brown first noticed that 614 Briarwood Drive had been empty for a while during the COVID-19 pandemic. Living nearby in the Briarwood neighborhood, he passed it often. His family noticed it, too. Inspired by Bill Strickland’s  “Make the Impossible Possible,” Brown understood that stepping outside his comfort zone and getting out of his own way would lead to a greater outcome. Brainstorming what this space could be, the idea for BAC was born.

“Even as challenges came up, I remember praying, ‘Okay God, if you want this to happen, it’s going to happen,'” Brown said.

After getting the center up and running, Brown ran into his next challenge: fundraising and nonprofit management. “I’ve spent so many years on the programming side of things,” he said. “I’m just now seeing behind the curtain.”

With the creation of two funds at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, the Briarwood Arts Foundation Fund and Briarwood Arts Foundation Endowment Fund, Brown recognizes BAC is starting out on the right foot and getting the back-end support from CFM he needs. Not to mention, the two organizations’ vision for community-building is very similar.

“I think what makes us stand out is that we’re relationship-based and not transactional,” he said. “We just build relationships through natural, organic networking. Being genuine has helped us continue to build, and I know that will only grow.”

Since opening his fund at CFM, Brown has seen CFM’s community work up close as part of an advisory group for CFM’s grants committee. “I got to witness the process from start to finish to see how CFM works with nonprofits, even if their grant proposals aren’t quite fully where they need to be. It wasn’t just like, ‘Yes, you’re getting money. No, you’re not getting anything.’ Instead, it was like, ‘Well, maybe it’s not good for this, but we know of other people in our network who may have funding for this. Let’s provide you with some technical support to assist you moving forward.’ It was a cool professional development experience.”

Since opening, BAC has taken Brown’s goal of creating systems to better people’s lives to heart. The center regularly has guests from across the metro area and as far away as Kosciusko and Grenada.

“It’s been a welcome thing to see this much community support in such a short period of time,” he said.

Want to make activities at BAC possible? Click to support the Briarwood Arts Foundation Fund and Briarwood Arts Foundation Endowment Fund. Donations over $1,000 to the Briarwood Arts Foundation Endowment Fund qualify for the Endow Mississippi 25% state tax credit.

The University Press of Mississippi announces the Mississippi Natural Heritage Publishing Initiative

The Mississippi Natural Heritage Publishing Initiative supports the publication of books that celebrate the rich diversity of natural life in Mississippi, seeking to educate the public on the value of our natural heritage, and the importance of conserving these resources for future generations. Funded through the University Press of Mississippi New Horizons Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi and established with the support of individuals and partner Wildlife Mississippi, the Initiative is dedicated to the publication of new books on Mississippi’s natural history, conservation, and public outreach.

Forthcoming books supported by the Initiative include:

Whether practical guides for the public, lyrical accounts of the beauty of the outdoors, tales of hunting and fishing, historical volumes, or gorgeous photography books, books from the University Press of Mississippi have inspired and educated readers for decades. By supporting the Mississippi Natural Heritage Publishing Initiative, supporters and partners will help the University Press of Mississippi continue to reach a broad audience of readers around the world while sharing the knowledge of recognized experts and scholars in the fields of conservation, natural history, and environmental education.

To make contributions to the Mississippi Natural Heritage Publishing Initiative through the University Press of Mississippi New Horizon Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, learn more on their donation page.

CFM Supports New Skatepark in Crystal Springs

Group stands together holding a ribbon at the Crystal Springs Skatepark.
Ribbon cutting at the Crystal Springs Skatepark. CFM’s Director of Communications, Sophie McNeil Wolf, stands at the far right.

What began as a science project is now a fully functioning skatepark reality, thanks to the hard work of Chance Mohawk, Grant Finch and the Crystal Springs community. The young skateboarders created the idea of building a skate park several years ago as part of an environmental science project.

“Our hypothesis was that if we went in front of the city and presented our idea of what we wanted to do and how we planned to do it, they would say yes,” Mohawk told WLBT. “And what do you know? They did!”

After getting approval from the city, the pair faced their next challenge: Funding.

In November 2021, the Community Foundation for Mississippi supported the idea, giving a $5,000 grant from the Community Trust Fund to help the two get the project off the ground.

The two also learned of a grant through Petal skate park. Despite the application being well received, several necessary modifications to their application set them back a year. Yet, they were not deterred. The pair persevered by selling T-shirts to raise money and making necessary changes to their plans. Eventually, they successfully obtained a grant of $120,000, exceeding their initial expectations.

With funds secured, Chance and Grant enlisted the help of a renowned skate park designer from Philadelphia to bring their vision to life. Through their joint efforts, they won the bid to construct the skate park for the community. However, the ambitious young skateboarders are not stopping there. They have plans to further improve the skate park by incorporating additional features, such as a skate bowl, to enhance the overall experience for visitors.

“We want to expand and include more things,” Finch expressed to WLBT. “We want a bowl. That would be really awesome.”

Want to make more projects like this a reality? Donate to our Community Trust Fund, which supported this project and makes our competitive grant work in the community possible!

Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival Raises Over $100,000 for Children’s of Mississippi

Group stands with a check for $100,000 for Children's of Mississippi from the Hal's St. Paddy's Parade.Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival, the city’s annual celebration of spring and Jackson’s culture and heritage, has once again shown its support for Children’s of Mississippi by raising over $100,000 after event expenses for the state’s only children’s hospital and its life-saving medical care and treatment.

This year’s festival, held on March 25, brought together thousands of people from all over the state and beyond to support a great cause in the City with Soul.

The festival and official after-party featured live music, food vendors, a children’s festival, and three parades through the streets of downtown Jackson.

Children’s of Mississippi’s Run The Rainbow 5K, 10K, and half marathon on March 18th raised $79,927.88, and the Friends of Children’s organization raised $24,783 through its Doo Dah Day New Car Giveaway raffle with the Sweet Potato Queens, presented by Patty Peck Honda. UMMC’s City Sweep volunteers helped lead the parade, handing out beads and collecting donations, which totaled $2,805. Several of the long-standing walking krewes fundraised their own significant amounts, including the Sweet Potato Queens, The Green Ladies, O’Tux Society, and Nugget League of Mayhem.

“We are thrilled to announce that we raised over $100,000 for Children’s of Mississippi this year,” said Malcolm White, founder of Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival. “The generosity of our supporters and sponsors never ceases to amaze me. We are so grateful for everyone who
came out to have fun and support this hospital and the incredible care provided there.”

The funds raised by the parade and festival will go directly towards the hospital’s mission of providing the highest quality medical care to children in need. This includes funding for research, new technology and equipment, and support for families facing the challenges of caring for a sick child.

Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival has become one of the largest and most anticipated events and beloved traditions in Jackson. For more information on Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival and its support for Children’s of Mississippi, please visit www.halsstpaddysparade.com. Donations can be made to the Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi year-round to support the mission of the event here.