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

Blues artist Dexter Allen and bassist Jonah Nelson perform during the Blue Monday Blues Jam by the Central Mississippi Blues Society at Hal and Mal's club in Jackson, MS.
Blues artist Dexter Allen and bassist Jonah Nelson perform during the Blue Monday Blues Jam by the Central Mississippi Blues Society at Hal and Mal’s in Jackson, MS. Photo courtesy Bill Steber.

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.