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Pinebelt Community Foundation gives $1.9 million in grants for 2015

HATTIESBURG, Miss - The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation closed out 2015 strong, disbursing over $1.9 million in grants and scholarships throughout the Pine Belt region.

This is a record-setting year with the most money given out in a signal year by the PineBelt Community Foundation.

President of the Board of Directors, David Fortenberry said, "It has been a lot of hard work done by a lot of volunteers with the foundation, educating the community about the benefits of using the community foundation."

Community donors believed in a wide array of causes, disbursing the grants throughout different spectrums.

“The Foundation began the year with a strong response to the devastation caused by the December 2014 tornado that ripped through the heart of Columbia and in areas of Hattiesburg,” added Fortenberry. “The Foundation already had in place the Pine Belt Disaster Fund, but also partnered with local Columbia leaders who created an organization called Columbia Strong. When the tornado first hit, Columbia Strong did not have a 501(c)3 status, so the PineBelt Community Foundation sponsored their fundraising efforts until they received their IRS 501(c)3 status.”

Both disaster funds raised over $500,000 for disaster relief efforts to help rebuild Columbia and help those affected in the Hattiesburg area.

About $718,000 worth of grants and scholarships went towards human services.

Executive Director, Theresa Erickson said, "Another fund that we have, is the Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate fund and that started by an anonymous donor and now it is run by a committee of sworn law officers who are taking it to the fullest in helping families who have gone through similar situations."

Fortenberry mentioned that the organization would not have prospered without their donors.

"In the past five years we have really concentrated our efforts on education the professional advisors in the community and the community as a whole about the efficiency, flexibility of the foundation, the credibility of the foundation, and the economical benefit."

The 2015 grants and scholarships went to towards these domains:

  • Animals -$5,685

  • Arts -$113,267

  • Community Enhancement- $263,055

  • Education (general) - $22,353

  • Health -$110,995

  • Human Services-$718,117

  • Youth- $181,084

  • Religion -$214,190

  • Scholarships -$275,007

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