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People & Places

Jan. 29, 2013
Women's Fund of Mississippi

Women's Fund Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary With 10 Grantees

Young women across the state will have access to teen-oriented health services, gain financial literacy to build savings accounts, or explore career options in fields as diverse as nursing and law through grants awarded by the Women’s Fund of Mississippi for 2013.

The Women’s Fund of Mississippi marks its 10th anniversary by investing $346,000 in 10 nonprofits across Mississippi. Each organization will receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $41,000 to continue efforts that create a positive impact on the economic security of women and girls across the state.

Since its formation, the Women’s Fund has invested over $1million in Mississippi nonprofits to advance social change and economic self-sufficiency through advocacy and strategic grantmaking. This milestone is extremely important because fewer than 7 percent of philanthropic dollars nationwide go to programs that support women and girls. The Women’s Fund is the only grantmaking and advocacy organization in Mississippi entirely dedicated to funding programs that improve the lives of women and girls statewide.

“The Fund’s 10th anniversary grantees represent organizations that are demonstrating transformative impact and who share in our mission—to improve the lives of women and girls in Mississippi,” said Carol Penick, executive director of the Women’s Fund. The Women’s Fund is using the 10-year anniversary to emphasize its continued commitment to funding organizations and programs across five focus areas: access to evidence based sex education, access to youth-friendly health services, access to youth leadership programs, and access to financial literacy and job training programs.

The 10 nonprofit organizations receiving 10th anniversary grants are:

• Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc. will increase youth-friendly health services at Hattiesburg High School campus and community clinics. – $15,000

• University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing: Midtown Teen Wellness Center at UNACARE, will provide metro Jackson high school students access to primary and preventive health care. – $41,000

• Mississippi First: Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens (C.H.A.R.T) will continue statewide advocacy to implement evidence-based, medically accurate comprehensive sex education in all school districts. – $10,000

• Southern Bancorp Community Partners: Asset Builders Campaign, Coahoma County, will provide credit counseling, financial education and other asset building services to primarily single working mothers. – $40,000

• CLIMB Community Development Corporation: Workforce Training Institute, Gulfport, will offer job-training and personal-development programs with evidence-based sex education to improve knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of at-risk women, ages 16 to 19. – $40,000

• Mississippi Council on Economic Education: IDA Program will use grant funds to provide financial literacy education and successful creation of individual development accounts (IDAs) for 15 young women attending Lanier High School, Jackson. Funds in accounts will be used for post-secondary education expenses. – $40,000

• Mississippi Center for Justice: Fair Lending Campaign will recruit employers and financial institutions statewide to create new small dollar loan products with reasonable terms that working- poor women can access through their jobs. – $40,000

• Institute of Southern Jewish Life: Talk About the Problems (T.A.P.) will provide leadership development training for middle school students to help resolve conflicts peacefully. This project will also expose young women to the legal field as a career path. – $40,000

• Sunflower County Freedom Project: Freedom Fellowship will provide core academics, arts enrichment, health, educational travel, and character development for at-risk youth. – $40,000

• Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce: Miss. Delta Funding Collaborative will enhance its multi-dimensional approach to attract diverse, disadvantaged, low income women into health care careers by providing opportunities for career development. – $40,000

For information about the Women’s Fund of Mississippi and its 2013 Grant recipients, please visit our website at

Jackson Heart Clinic 2013 Heart Screenings

The Jackson Heart Clinic has been providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art cardiovascular care since 1973. Not only are they committed to providing cardiovascular care with the utmost integrity and compassion, they are also committed to the community and believe that through education and increased awareness, they can help fight the war against heart disease that so profoundly affects our state in many different ways.

Throughout the month of February, Jackson Heart Clinic is working to increase awareness of heart disease. They offer complimentary screenings to the general public on Friday, February 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 12:30-3:00 p.m. The screenings will take place at the Jackson Heart Clinic (DOMINICAN PLAZA LOCATION). An appointment must be scheduled by calling 601-982-7850. Do not wait to book your appointment, as space is limited.

The screening will consist of an EKG, ankle-brachial index (ABI), body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure check. An EKG screening measures the electrical activity of the heart to check for rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation. This is a common and often asymptomatic rhythm disorder that can cause blood clots to form within the heart chambers. Atrial fibrillation is the cause of approximately 15 percent of all strokes. An ABI screening is performed to evaluate for decreased circulation in the lower extremities that may be caused by blockage in the legs or feet. An abnormal ABI is often an indicator for peripheral artery disease, which can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. A BMI check is the measure of one’s body fat based on height and weight. Lastly, it is important to check your blood pressure often. It is the pressure of blood within the arteries, which is produced by the contraction of the heart muscle.

Mississippi Boy Choir Will Hold Its Second Annual Fundraiser

Mississippi Boychoir will hold its second annual fundraiser, Minit 2 Winit, at the Ag Museum on Thursday,

February 28th at 5:30 pm. Jill Conner Brown will again serve the fun-filled event as emcee. The evening will be complete with music by Mississippi Boychoir, outlandish games played by local “celebrities”  including Lynn Fitch, Keith Tonkel, Larry Swales  a silent auction and outstanding food prepared by local chefs to please the entire family.

Tickets are $45.00 for adults, $15.00 for students and may be purchased online at or from any member of Mississippi Boychoir.

It’s all about raising funds to support the music education and character building programs of the eighteen-year-old Mississippi Boychoir. Lelon Thompson is the artistic director of this diverse choir, which is made up of 50 6- to 18-year-old boys. These youngsters are of different races and various socio-economic levels and live in the Jackson Metro or Hattiesburg areas.

The choir was the state’s first  and remains the only  incorporated, independent and non-profit boychoir.
It is partially funded by the Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, corporations, foundations and individuals.

Selected to perform at Mississippi governor’s inauguration, the boys have performed throughout the state, as well as in the Czech Republic, England, and Vancouver and at various music festivals across the nation. More than 250,000 have heard Mississippi Boychoir.

For more information, call Mississippi Boychoir at 601 665-7374, visit;

BankPlus Promotes Karma Williams To Senior Vice President

BankPlus announced today that Karma Williams was recently promoted to senior vice president in the bank’s Private Client Group. Williams has over 25 years of experience in the banking industry and has been with BankPlus for 12 years.

A native of Madden, Williams holds a bachelor of science degree in banking and finance from the University of Mississippi and is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Banking. In the community, Williams serves as a member of the Junior League of Jackson, the Women’s Fund of Mississippi and the Panther Creek Homeowners Association. Williams has served as a board member of the Assisi Learning Center and was recently named one of Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women of 2012.

Williams and her husband, Scott, have two daughters, Parker and Swayze, and attend Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson.

Neel-Schaffer Celebrates 30 Years Of Operation

Neel-Schaffer, Inc. is proud to announce that on February 4, 2013, it will celebrate its 30th birthday. The company is a multi-disciplined engineering firm that provides services to federal, state and local governments as well as to the private sector. Corporate headquarters are located in Jackson, Mississippi.

In 1983, Hibbett Neel, PE, and Gorman Schaffer, PE, founded the company based on four principles:

• Serve the community in which we live and work,
• Pledge to be employee-owned,
• Provide multi-disciplined services of the highest quality, and
• Give back to the community.

“These principals have provided the direction of Neel-Schaffer, “commented Hibbett Neel, PE, President, Neel-Schaffer, Inc. of Neel-Schaffer. “Our goal today continues to be to become an extension of our clients’ staff by providing resources and/or capacity they do not possess in-house.”

Since 1983, Neel-Schaffer has expanded throughout the South. “We began in Jackson, Mississippi, and we are now located throughout the state, and have further expanded to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas,” furthered Neel. “We employ a staff of over 400 professional and technical employees.” Clients run the gamut of municipalities to state agencies and corporations.

Along with growth has come new initiatives. “Diversity is a priority at Neel-Schaffer,” Neel said. “Early on we recognized we could only improve the quality of service by embracing diversity. In 1990, we created a minority scholarship program for disadvantaged minority engineering students. Awarding more than $100,000 in university scholarships across the Southeast, Neel-Schaffer earned national recognition through the receipt of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 2004 National Diversity Champion Award. After graduation, seven of the scholarship recipients have joined the firm and now are professional engineers.

Engineering News Record has included Neel-Schaffer among its roster of Top 500 Design Firms since 1994. Neel-Schaffer has also received accolades from the Solid Waste Association of North America as the recipient the 2011 and 2012 Gold Excellence Awards for Landfill Gas Utilizations. The company has also been recognized by the Mississippi Chapter of American Council of Engineering Companies on an annual basis for engineering design. In 2012, Neel-Schaffer made the Top 50 Road & Highway Design Firms List released by Roads and Bridges Magazine. Neel-Schaffer has also been recognized among the Top 35 Best Firms to Work For by CE News.

Recent notable projects include: the water system master plan for the city of Jackson, Capitol Street improvements, Highway 463 in Madison, State Route 9 Four Lane Highway to Toyota; for Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) activities following the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico; State Port at Gulfport Restoration; the Baldwin Beach Express in Alabama; the EPA Brownfields Community Wide Assessment for the cities of Gulfport and Columbus, MS; on call contracts for several state Departments of Transportation and recovery projects throughout South Mississippi.

“Neel-Schaffer also has three subsidiaries that have been founded as our clients’ needs have increased, “commented Neel. “They are Maptech, a company that provides surveying services; SoilTech, a geotechnical and construction materials testing company; and TrueNorth, a disaster management company.

“Our employees’ commitment to client service is the driving force of the success of Neel-Schaffer,” furthered Neel. “Through their client relationships, Neel-Schaffer continues to meet our founding principles.”

Ropin' Up A Good Time At Ignight The Night

The Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) is excited to announce its fundraiser, Ignite the Night: Saddle Up, Southern Style, on Saturday, February 9 from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. Ignite the Night is MCM’s annual adult-only party and fundraiser held after hours at the museum to support the museum’s many exhibits, programs and community outreach. Put on your best cowboy (or girl) attire for a night under the Western stars.

This is the third year that MCM Partners, a statewide group of volunteers and donors who support and contribute to the museum, has played host at the event. Fundraisers, like Ignite the Night, are vital to keeping the museum, the most imaginative place around. Ignite the Night 2012 raised over $70,000 dollars to inspire children, and this year promises to be a galloping good time!

“Ignite the Night is a great opportunity for adults to enjoy a night under the Western sky and raise money for our little ‘partners’ who come to the museum,” said Collette McIntyre, Ignite the Night committee chair. “Every year the event gets bigger and better, which helps the museum do the same.”

This soiree will feature music by The Colonels, named “Best Country Artist” and “Best Cover Band” in 2012 by the Jackson Free Press, and a solo performance by Dain Edwards. Break out your riding chaps and hitch up your spurs for the bucking mechanical bull! Become an outlaw with our savvy sketch artists, or have Cindi Nix take a snapshot as you prepare to head out West in our covered wagon. Wendy Putt and US Foods will provide great grub. A silent auction will be held that evening featuring donations from Juniker Jewelry, 4450, Fleet Feet, High Cotton and so many more generous donors.

This event is sponsored by Kroger, AT&T, BankPlus, BKD, LLP; EastGroup Properties, Regions Bank, Jackson Heart Clinic, Wendy and Jay Cole and 7th Generation Foundation. For a complete list of the event sponsors and donors and to purchase your tickets, visit our website,

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