Community Foundation ball a success

Published 5:04 pm Monday, January 28, 2019

Staff Report

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi’s 19th annual black-tie Crystal Ball event on Jan. 19 had a record-breaking year with a sellout crowd of 1,100 attendees, 73 sponsors, and a fabulous live and silent auction.

Besides the announcements of the 2018 Community Stars, one of the highlights was a $725,000 check presentation from Robin Hurdle, president of the Maddox Foundation, to Community Foundation president/CEO Tom Pittman for the final payment of a $10 million endowment match challenge.  The Maddox Foundation had made a matching endowment challenge to the Community Foundation where the Maddox Foundation would match 100 percent of endowment contributions up to $10 million.

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“It was an amazing event bringing communities together, creating synergy to enhance the quality of life in 11 counties,” said  Rev. Bartholomew Orr, who is the Chairman of the Community Foundation.  “The proceeds from the event help the Community Foundation annually give $2 million in grants, help nonprofits become more sustainable, and connect donors’ with causes that matter.”

The Community Foundation manages 235 donor-established funds and has distributed $22.1 million to support more than 700 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the foundation.  Established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties.  A board of 19 volunteer civic leaders governs the Community Foundation.

Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar served as chairman of the board of directors and will have completed six years on the board after his 2019 term as outgoing chairman. Azar said part of his mission is growing the Foundation’s base and increasing participation from the business community.

We serve most all of the Mississippi Delta communities funding sustainable projects that promote cultural change towards a better quality of life. If you would like to be a part of this change, please join us. Our motto and mission is, ‘the Community Foundation connects people who care with causes that matter’,” Azar said.

Serving as secretary for the Community Foundation is Lillian Hilson, a Panola County native, who is the granddaughter of Belinda Morris and the late Rep. Leonard Morris.

Learn more about the Community Foundation and the many Panola County projects and initiatives that benefit from its efforts at or call 449.5002.