Ways to Help: Jackson Water Crisis

In July 2022, Jackson experienced increased rain and subsequent flooding of the Pearl River, impacting the city. This flooding exacerbated the city’s water issues, causing failures at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. The City of Jackson and State of Mississippi, through the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Department of Health, are working together under several states of emergency to address issues. On September 15, the boil water notice was lifted for the City of Jackson.

Below are ways to stay up-to-date on the water crisis and where to help support Jacksonians as we address ongoing issues with the City of Jackson water system. This page may be updated as information becomes available. (Last updated March 1, 2023)

Where can I find official information about the Jackson water?

Visit the One JXN site here for updated resident information.

Click here to visit JXN Water, the Mississippi corporation formed to conduct the business necessary for the Interim Third-Party Manager to achieve the objectives of the Stipulated Order.

Where can I support organizations who are helping address the water system (and long term solutions) in Jackson?

The Helping Friends and Neighbors Fund (Disaster Relief Fund) at the Community Foundation for Mississippi was created to respond to disasters in Mississippi, primarily in CFM’s coverage area of central and southwest Mississippi. It will not take the place of local relief efforts, but rather enhance disaster responses because of our community knowledge and connections, relief donations can easily adapt to current needs at hand, whether it’s food, medical supplies, shelter or something completely unforeseen. A donation to this fund will help wrap around needs related to Jackson’s water issues.

The JPS Response Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi has been established to offer financial assistance to the district and its schools for challenges caused by declared disasters, emergencies and Acts of God. This fund will help support the district address needs during this time of need.

Powered by the Good Samaritan Center and ExtraTable, the Hub for the Hungry program unites Mississippi nonprofit agencies with food distribution companies and local farmers. Current partners are KLLM Transport, Sysco Jackson, Two Dog Farms, Salad Days, and Central Mississippi Planning and Development. The Hub for the Hungry is assisting with water distribution beyond the water crisis for charitable organizations. Click below to learn more about the Hub for the Hungry.

Jackson Water Distribution Sites

Green icons represent water distribution sites. This map is not meant to catalog each individual site at churches and businesses.

The Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition is continuing to distribute water to Jackson residents. The current schedule is:

Tuesdays at 5 p.m.

South Jackson

Sykes Community Center

Strong Arms, 520 Sykes Road, Jackson, MS

Oak Forest Community Center

Operation Good, 2827 Oak Forest Dr., Jackson, MS

West Jackson

Westland Plaza Parking Lot

MS Poor People’s Campaign


Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

South Jackson

Oak Forest Community Center

Operation Good, 2827 Oak Forest Dr., Jackson, MS

West Jackson

Westland Plaza Parking Lot

MS Poor People’s Campaign


Thursdays at 5 p.m.

South Jackson

Oak Forest Community Center

Operation Good, 2827 Oak Forest Dr., Jackson, MS

West Jackson

Westland Plaza Parking Lot

MS Poor People’s Campaign

IAJE Community Center

IAJE, 406 W. Fortification St., Jackson, MS


Fridays at 5 p.m.

South Jackson

Oak Forest Community Center

Operation Good, 2827 Oak Forest Dr., Jackson, MS

West Jackson

Westland Plaza Parking Lot

MS Poor People’s Campaign

North Jackson

Northtown Pharmacy

JXN People’s Assembly, 6220 Old Canton Rd., Jackson, MS


Saturdays at 11 a.m.

Northwest Jackson

People’s Advocacy Institute

Northside Drive and Hanging Moss Road

West Jackson

IAJE Community Center

IAJE, 406 W. Fortification St., Jackson, MS


Sundays at 3 p.m.

North Jackson

MS Move Across from Tougaloo College

Operation Good

(Please note, these times and locations are subject to change. Before heading out, check the MRRC website for an up-to-date schedule.)

City of Jackson Water Status Tool

If you are experiencing discolored water or no pressure, please alert the City of Jackson by using this online reporting tool.

Information is subject to change. Know of other ways to support the City of Jackson? Send us an email at communications@formississippi.org.

Unearthing the Past: The Admissions Project

Stories are a universal way to relate and understand each other better. And, all of us have school stories. Ellen Ann Fentress knows this firsthand as a storyteller, author and documentarian. Sharing her own story, in fact, about her experience attending a segregation academy in the 1970s has brought others to remember and tell their own story, too.

These academies were private schools that began to appear as a way for white parents to avoid the ramifications of integration – sending their children to school with black children. There are an estimated 750,000 attendees of these schools across 11 southern states. The project cataloging the subsequent memories of so many in the South during that time has evolved to become The Admissions Project – a collection of interviews, a website with written stories and oral histories of others in school under the shadow of integration.

“Along with the rest of the country, Mississippi has come to recognize that we can’t thrive in the future while suppressing the past,” said Fentress. “For Mississippi, that means understanding our racial history most of all. The Admissions Project is about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to grow. It matters to me that this is a project in which we tell our own stories in our own voices. This is no outside helicopter project, but our own home-led story sharing.”

Fentress says her work, which is supported through the Eyes of Mississippi Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, would not have been possible without the underlying infrastructure at CFM. “We see to our projects, and as a qualified 501c3 non-profit, CFM supervises our finances,” she said. “To launch this project, working under CFM’s nonprofit structure was essential. Supporters expect and deserve a tax-deductible donor framework, particularly in Mississippi where giving resources are always stretched.”

From the Beginning

Three people sit around a table. On the left, Ellen Ann is recording with a microphone and wearing headphones and a mask.
Ellen Ann Fentress (left), interviews David Taylor, Sr. (right) with Marshand Boone (center).

In 2019, after publishing a Bitter Southerner essay on coming to terms with her white schooling, Fentress received a flood of emails – both positive and negative – about their own reckoning with their past academy experiences. “I realized many in my generation wanted a public space to talk about the imprint of our defiant all-white educations, a key chapter of American history,” she said.

With the help of the Mississippi Humanities Council, a grant helped her launch the online platform – the Academy Stories. Well-known authors who were also segregation academy alumni wrote accounts for the launch, including Steve Yarborough, Alan Huffman and Kristen Green. Dozens more followed along with coverage from the Washington Post, Slate, Mother Jones, Forbes and the Hechinger Report. As more stories unfolded, a ripple effect happened. The more stories were told, the more others also remembered and wanted to share, too.

“At a moment when we are more aware than ever of our past failures to pursue social justice, it seems essential to me that we tell the stories of the segregation academies alongside the more positive stories of integration,” said Steve Yarbrough, discussing the project. “These narratives are timely and necessary.”

In 2020, an additional MHC grant helped Fentress expand her work to those who remained in public schools post-integration. Though unacknowledged initially, the burden of court-ordered integration frequently fell on Black students and teachers to assimilate into little-changed white spaces. Essays came in from nationally regarded writers like Ralph Eubanks, Margaret McMullan, Paulette Boudreaux and Teresa Nicholas. With the collection of memories growing, the work became known as The Admissions Project.

“Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about the early days of integration is how many of us were coached—by our parents and the mores of Southern culture–to move on and repress the memories of what happened to us. What this project does is bring those tightly imprinted yet closed recollections out into the open so that those who experienced this past can make sense of it,” said Ralph Eubanks. “Even more important, these stories can be used by students today so they can get of sense of how much the past had an impact on education today yet also led to a positive transformation of the structure of Southern society.”

What’s Next

The project shows no signs of stopping now. Soon, a podcast will be added to the lineup with a three-episode season, “This American Life”-style. As a documentarian, Fentress dreams of adding video accounts to the site, producing a full-length documentary film and staging a The Moth-style storytelling production for people to tell their school stories.

“All those avenues invest in the power of learning from each other’s personal stories,” said Fentress. “Besides these stories mattering to us today, I have to believe that the site’s first-person accounts are going to hold their importance for future generations as primary documents of history. Can you imagine the power of reading a parallel cross-section of stories from Mississippi a century ago or two centuries ago? Our essays stand to be that priceless.”

To support the Eyes of Mississippi Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, which supports The Admissions Project, click here.

Hear more from Ellen Ann here:

National Book Lovers’ Day: Let’s Read!

Book lovers unite! It’s National Book Lovers’ Day and we have plenty of ways to celebrate. From libraries to the Mississippi Book Festival, the Community Foundation for Mississippi has ways to support organizations that are creating more book lovers every year.

Mississippi Book Festival

A view from above of a full sanctuary at Galloway United Methodist Church for the Mississippi Book Festival.The Community Foundation for Mississippi is proud to the be fiscal home and presenting funder for the Mississippi Book Festival. Known as Mississippi’s Literary Lawn Party, the festival has become a nationally recognized premier event that attracts book lovers, writers, and publishers from Mississippi, the region, and the nation. Free and open to the public, the festival hosts author panel discussions and interviews, book signings, live music, local food, young adult and children’s activities, and exhibitors from across the state. The mission of the festival is to recognize authors and the books they produce, to celebrate writing, reading, and our literary heritage, and to connect readers with contemporary authors.

Jackson Friends of the Library

Outside view of the Willie Morris Library in Jackson.The Jackson Friends of the Library Fund supports the seven City of Jackson libraries in the Jackson Hinds Library System. Your support helps make programming and other initiatives possible!

Clinton Library Foundation Endowment Fund

Outside view of the Quisenberry Library.The Clinton Library Foundation Endowment Fund supports programs and operation of the Quisenberry Library in Clinton. The library, located on East Northside Drive, features a nature trail, Genealogy Room, Children’s Library and group study rooms that are available for quiet study throughout the day. The library offers a wide variety of public programming including an upcoming series on the history of the City of Clinton, a Halloween fall carnival and an Easter egg hunt in the spring.

Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Endowment Fund

Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters awards on a table.The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters honors Mississippi’s greatest riches – our artists, writers, and musicians. Each year the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters honors creative individuals with an award in their specific field. The prestigious awards, first made in 1980, are presented in eight categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, Youth Literature, Visual Art, Music Composition (Classical), Music Composition (Contemporary), Photography, and Poetry. The Institute’s juried competition is one of a kind in the state.

University Press of Mississippi Endowment Fund

University Press of Mississippi logoUniversity Press of Mississippi tells stories of scholarly and social importance that impact our state, region, nation, and world. They are committed to equality, inclusivity, and diversity. Working at the forefront of publishing and cultural trends, UPM publishes books that enhance and extend the reputation of our state and its universities.

Founded in 1970, UPM is the largest and only non-profit publisher in the state. Affiliated with and supported by Mississippi’s eight state universities, UPM has more than 2,200 active titles and has distributed more than 3,200,000 books worldwide in print and digital editions, each with the Mississippi imprint. The press acquires, edits, designs, and promotes more than 95 new books every year.

Curious about other causes and organizations you can support? View our donate page for more!

The LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi Announces 2022 Grant Recipients

Image of hands holding up letter baloons in rainbow colors, spelling community. LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi at the Community Foundation for Mississippi.The LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi at the Community Foundation for Mississippi (CFM) announced 2022 annual grants today totaling $135,000 for ten programs around the state of Mississippi. Decisions were informed by the Needs Assessment from the Mississippi LGBTQ Study.

“I am truly excited about the opportunity to meet the moment for many LGBTQ organizations across the state,” said Justin Lofton, chair of the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi. “The LGBTQ community faces enormous challenges and I’m proud that the Fund is helping to close the gap and ease the burdens with its grantmaking. We look forward to continuing the work.”

2022 recipients include:

Campaign for Southern Equality (Ashville, NC): Manage a small grants process for new/emerging LGBTQ+ serving organizations.

Capital City Pride (Jackson, MS): Support groups for queer/trans kids and their parents.

Gulf Coast Equality Council (Gulfport, MS): Needs assessment for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (Jackson, MS): Assist queer and trans immigrants in the state secure housing, health screenings, educational opportunities and legal services transitioning out of detention centers.

Link Centre (Tupelo, MS): Updated resource guide for Tupelo area/support groups for parents of queer kids.

Mississippi Positive Network (Statewide): Expand on the statewide network for people living with HIV by implementing a statewide calendar of events and train healthcare workers on the importance of networking for a new person diagnosed with HIV.

Mississippi Rising Coalition (Gulfport, MS): Create a mutual aid fund to assist LGBTQ+ people in the Gulf Coast with emergency needs when they arise.

Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS): Conduct surveys on LGBTQ+ health disparities and conduct research to give a better understanding of how to help LGBTQ+ patients in health care settings.

Mississippi University for Women (Columbus, MS): Seminar focusing on gender-affirming care and medical humanities from two experts.

Youth Improvement Services (Statewide): General operating funds and emergency housing money for trans youth.

Transforming donations into action, the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi at the Community Foundation for Mississippi pools funds to support LGBTQ+ organizations across the state that address the needs of LGBTQ Mississippians. As the first and only grantmaking fund in the state focused on supporting organizations that improve the quality of life for LGBTQ Mississippians, the fund at CFM works as a pipeline that fuels and enhances the work of LGBTQ-focused organizations by professional stewardship of funds and other resources from outside donors.

More information about the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, including past grantees, is available at lgbtqfundms.org.

Members of the community are also encouraged to contribute to the LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi through CFM’s website, found here.

Janet Leach Memorial Fund Announces 2022 Recipient Hannah Grace Hinckley

Image of Hannah Hinckley. Text reads: Janet Leach Scholarship Fund, 2022 Recipient, Hannah Grace Hinckley. Community Foundation for Mississippi logo at the bottom.The Community Foundation for Mississippi and the Mississippi Golf Association are proud to announce the 2022 recipient of the Janet Leach Scholarship is Hannah Grace Hinckley of McComb. A 2022 graduate of Parklane Academy, Hinckley is an active golfer and plans to attend Mississippi College in the fall and will play on the MC women’s golf team. After graduation, Hinckley hopes to attend medical school.

When anyone says the name Janet Leach, golf and Mississippi are never too far behind. Leach served for 22 years with the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division as the program manager for golf. She promoted Mississippi internationally and served as a liaison for two Mississippi PGA Tour tournaments.

As a result of Leach’s tireless work, she was also the first woman to receive the Carpenter-Lindsay Award from the PGA Gulf States section and Mississippi chapter in 2015, which is awarded to individuals who have unselfishly served and supported the game of golf.

Leach passed away in 2017 at the age of 66. To honor her legacy, the Janet Leach Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi was created to support the next generation of female golfers. The fund’s scholarship is awarded annually in partnership with the Mississippi Golf Association to a deserving Mississippi female student who is associated with the game of golf either through play or other golf-related studies, regardless of the student’s golfing skill level. Special attention is given to students who attend smaller Mississippi universities and the various community colleges around the state, and those who may need additional financial support.

To support the fund and learn more, visit here.

Camp Kamassa Brings Camp Experience to All

Aerial view of Camp Kamassa construction
Aerial view of Camp Kamassa construction.

For many children, the summer months mean cookouts, frozen treats, trips and summer camps. But for over 55,000 school-aged kids in Mississippi, year-round camps have never been an option due to special needs. Until now. Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation (MTKF) is constructing Camp Kamassa, Mississippi’s first and only year-round fully handicap-accessible camp facility for children and adults with serious illnesses, physical and mental challenges and other special needs.

A child in a wheelchair poses in front of four military service members.
Future camper Nicholas visits with members of the 307th Civil Engineer Squadron out of Barksdale, LA Air Force base while they assist with the construction of the camp as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training Program.

“There is no other barrier-free, fully accessible facility like Camp Kamassa in Mississippi,” said Mary Kitchens, MTKF founder and executive director. While roughly two dozen camps for children with special needs exist in Mississippi each year, many are housed at facilities that are not fully accessible. “Our vision is to provide a place where all campers will experience the fun, adventure, educational, and therapeutic benefits of traditional camping experiences regardless of their different abilities.”

Located on 426 acres in north Copiah County, everything about Camp Kamassa has been designed and is currently being built for thousands of campers in all 82 Mississippi counties and beyond.

The camp incorporates key educational elements into the design and construction, including areas where campers and students will be engrossed in biological sciences, agriculture, cultural and archeological studies, dietary science, literacy and environmental sciences. Traditional camp activities such as high and low ropes courses, swimming, canoeing, fishing, archery, baseball, horseback riding, ziplining, woodworking, theater will be offered. A state-of-the-art infirmary will also allow children to receive medical treatments without having to leave camp.  Paired with educational experiences to help kids develop new skills, increase confidence and build stronger relationships, Camp Kamassa strives to create a sense of belonging and social/emotional wellbeing.

While life can be difficult for these children, Camp Kamassa plans to be a bright spot of hope and community. “When it came time to name the camp, we called the north Mississippi Choctaws and asked for a word that meant ‘tough, persevere under difficulties, not give up’ and were told Kamassa,” said Kitchens, “That perfectly describes our campers.”

Kitchens knows a great deal about perseverance. In 1977, Kitchens’ son, Dan, was diagnosed with cancer. In 1980, he went to Mississippi’s first summer camp for kids with cancer. It changed his life and the lives of everyone in his family. Suddenly, Mary was thrown into a new world of “special needs.” She realized that Mississippi is extremely limited in opportunities for families affected by special needs. She made it her life’s work to change that by founding the Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation in 2008.

MTKF also knows a thing or two without partnerships. When the foundation purchased the property and began considering how to build a $27 million facility, they knew they would need help. Enter the U.S. Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training Program. Through this program, military personnel from all branches of the military and from across the nation come to Crystal Springs during their two-week annual training periods. “Their assistance provides these mostly civil engineering units with deployment readiness training,” said Kitchens. “For us, it means donated labor-saving us millions in construction costs. Construction is roughly halfway complete with plans to open in 2024.”

Kitchens says the foundation also knew it was important to have a local partner that could help ensure the camp was around for the long term, which they found in the Community Foundation for Mississippi. Through a fund at CFM, donors can help support the ongoing construction of the camp and the sustainability of operating the camp once doors open.

Want to be a part of building Camp Kamassa? Help support the camp through their fund here.

Community Foundation of Mississippi Announces Creation of the Friends of Andrew Bucci Fund

Andrew Bucci

The late Andrew Bucci left a creative legacy as one of Mississippi’s most celebrated and prolific visual artists. To honor his memory and the centennial anniversary of his birth, the Friends of Andrew Bucci Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi was recently created to help Mississippi public, parochial and private school art teachers acquire supplies that support visual arts instruction for grades PreK-12.

“Andrew Bucci always credited his early art teachers for recognizing and encouraging his talent, namely Mary Clare Sherwood in Vicksburg and Marie Hull in Jackson,” said Margaret Bucci, Bucci’s niece and manager of his estate. “To cultivate new generations of artists in Mississippi, it’s important to increase access to arts education and make sure teachers have the tools and resources they need to provide enriching learning experiences for students.”

Andrew Bucci paints in his studio.
Andrew Bucci paints in his Maryland studio in 1990.

The estate of Andrew Bucci was interested in supporting visual arts education in Mississippi, and Margaret said the Community Foundation for Mississippi provided the perfect solution for establishing an impactful program to benefit PreK-12 art teachers and students.

“We’re excited about partnering with CFM to help teachers enhance visual arts instruction and learning about student projects made possible with support from the Friends of Andrew Bucci Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi,” she said.

Grant requests are now being accepted by the Advisors of the Friends of Andrew Bucci Fund Selection Committee. Interested teachers may apply for a grant from the Friends of Andrew Bucci Fund. Grant awards of up to $500 each are for the acquisition of art supplies such as paper, paint, paint brushes, pencils, markers, clay and other materials that provide hands-on opportunities for students to create artworks using a variety of media. Applications can be accessed and submitted here. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2022. (Note: The deadline has been extended to August 31, 2022.)

Bucci was born on January 12, 1922, in Vicksburg and graduated from St. Aloysius High School. After earning a degree in architectural engineering from Louisiana State University, he was trained as a weather officer and served on air bases in Scotland and England during World War II. While stationed near Paris at the war’s end, Bucci studied life drawing at the Académie Julian. He earned a BFA and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

After moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 1956 to work for the National Weather Service, Bucci continued painting, exhibiting art, and maintaining close ties with the Mississippi arts community. He resettled in Vicksburg shortly before his death on Nov. 16, 2014.

In recognition of his contributions to the arts and the centennial of his birth, the Mississippi Senate designated Jan. 12, 2022 “Andrew Bucci Day” in Mississippi.  Bucci was the recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission 2009 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for lifetime achievement in the visual arts and the 2012 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement award. Bucci’s painting, “Figure in Green,” was chosen by the USA International Ballet Competition as the signature image for the 2014 commemorative poster and program.

More information about Bucci, including an illustrated biography and schedule of centennial exhibitions, is available at andrewbucci.com.

Members of the community are also encouraged to contribute to the Friends of Andrew Bucci Fund through CFM’s website. Gifts in memory of Bucci can be made here.

Smith Robertson Museum To Celebrate Juneteenth With Dinner and New Fund Kickoff

Front of Smith Robertson Museum.
Smith Robertson Museum. Photo courtesy City of Jackson.

The Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center hosts its first-ever Victory Celebration Dinner in honor of the Juneteenth national holiday on Friday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m. This event kicks off support for the Friends of the Smith Robertson Museum Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, where donations directly support the museum’s mission of preserving and showcasing African-American culture and history.

“We are incredibly grateful and excited to be able to host this event at Smith Robertson Museum and hope that it will be a time to bring our community together to serve a great cause,” Manager of the Smith Robertson Museum Gwendolyn Harmon said. 

The victory dinner honors those who sacrificed their time, efforts, and lives to pursue freedom, justice, and equality. Honored guests in attendance are Civil Rights figures Hezekiah Watkins and James Meredith, as well as the late Richard Wright, in a special tribute and portrait unveiling by local artist Reshonda Perryman. The event is sponsored by Visit Jackson, Cathead Distillery, and the Jackson Bicentennial campaign.

“The Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center is an important piece of the fabric in Jackson,” said Jane Alexander, CEO and President of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. “The stories it tells weave an important narrative about past, present, and future for our city. We are thrilled to be the home for Smith Robertson’s fund and a catalyst for them to build a stronger future, forever.”

“With [the building’s] storied history as Jackson’s first African-American public school, and Smith Robertson Museum’s continued efforts to highlight achievements in the state’s black and African-American communities, we are proud to help sponsor this event to celebrate Juneteenth,” Visit Jackson President and CEO Rickey Thigpen said. 

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. It is also often observed to celebrate African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. To donate to the Friends of Smith Robertson Museum Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, click here. For more information on the Smith Robertson Museum, click here.

Keath Killebrew Charisma Award honors legacy and passion for agriculture

Three men stand together before a piece of machinery in a field.
Keath Killebrew and brother Heath worked together on Killebrew Cotton Company in Tchula, Mississippi.

Keath Killebrew, co-owner and farmer with the Killebrew Cotton Company in Tchula, Mississippi, dreamed about farming and ranching as a young boy. His family says he accomplished everything he ever dreamed of because he was dedicated to waking up every day and hitting his knees to pray. He then used the hands, big heart and brilliant mind God gave him. Killebrew’s greatest passion was agriculture, living his motto to “never give up.”

“He was a hard-working farmer that was happy to get his hands dirty in the soil. His passion was to educate those who wanted to learn to be able to plant and take care of their families,” said his wife, Dr. Alyssa Ellis Killebrew. Tragically, his life was cut short when he passed away in December of 2021. “He died living his passion to the fullest and educating others how to live off their land in another country.”

Keath Killebrew, Dr. Alyssa Killebrew and daughter, Vivian

The Killebrew family has set up an award fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi in his name called the Keath Killebrew Charisma Award, created for the purpose of supporting education for young men and women interested in agriculture. This scholarship will be given to young people who are passionate about agriculture and helping others in this field, using principles important to Keath such as integrity, grace, timeliness, honesty and respect.

This award fund invites Mississippians who have a proven work history, who are passionate about agriculture and helping others, and who will be majoring in agriculture or a related field to apply. The deadline is June 15, 2022. Award recipients will be notified and honored during a special ceremony during the 2022 Mississippi State Fair. The minimum award will be $1,000 per recipient. Multiple awards will be given.

His legacy also lives on in the lives of his family who have made it their mission to continue his life’s work. Keath and his twin brother, Heath, have 17,000 acres of row crop farms spread throughout 6 counties in Mississippi. Additionally, they farm cattle and bees.

Reflecting on her late husband, Alyssa said Keath used his spiritual grace, knowledge of agriculture, love of people, sense of adventure and passion to make the world a better place by being a vessel to share God’s love and grace. The fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi seeks to continue his life’s work by helping a young person who is passionate about agriculture and serving people through their future career.

The Community Foundation for Mississippi Has the Blues – The Central Mississippi Blues Society Endowment Fund

The Blue Monday Band stands together as a group.

Any frequenter of Hal and Mal’s knows that Mondays are for the Blues – the Central Mississippi Blues Society (CMBS) – to be exact. Formed in 2006 by Blues enthusiasts and musicians, CMBS is a driving force for the promotion of the music genre in Central Mississippi.

“It is our mission to keep the Blues alive and promote the culture of the Blues,” said Malcolm Shepherd, current CMBS president.

To continue the mission of the organization and ensure stability for the future, CMBS recently created an endowment fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi. Shepherd said he surveyed options for sustainability and CFM’s unique experience and ability to create and manage endowment funds with an eye toward sustainable growth, controlled risk and professional oversight, was incredibly reassuring.

“What is unique about the Community Foundation for Mississippi is that CFM works with organizations so that they can build up financial resources to be used within that organization,” said Shepherd.

As a past grant recipient through CFM funds, Shepherd was touched that CFM not only supports nonprofits with specific needs but holistically supports organizations to continue good work.

“Out of all the grants sources that we had been talking to and submitting grants, nobody had an option like CFM’s to set up an endowment,” he said.

While CMBS has brought the Blues to the community for over 15 years through live music, the organization also has a keen eye for supporting current musicians and up-and-coming artists.

Programs such as Blues in the Schools are important community builders for CMBS, not only now, but for future generations. Past projects include partnering with Hardy Middle School to instruct students on how to play the harmonica. At the end of the school year, students were gifted the harmonicas to continue their musical journeys. Other efforts have included restoring and restringing guitars for children to learn basic guitar skills.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, CMBS also supported struggling Blues musicians supplement income lost due to canceled performances. Shepherd says he hopes the fund at CFM will help them continue community education projects and support the development of Blues musicians in Central Mississippi.

To support the Central Mississippi Blues Society Endowment Fund, click here.

Want to see blue music live with the Central Mississippi Blues Society? Don’t miss Blue Monday most Mondays at Hal’ and Mal’s, 7 – 11 p.m. Cover is $5. View the Hal and Mal’s calendar for upcoming events.