This past year, you may have bought a raffle ticket, or purchased a BBQ sandwich, or a box of donuts from one of the ‘community associates’ of the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF).
At the BBCF Community Associates Annual Retreat in December in Tuscaloosa, the volunteer community associates from the twelve counties served by the foundation raised over $41,000 through grassroots fundraising during 2016.
“This is a great achievement to boost the work and value of our community foundation. Our Community Associates Program is one of our secret assets which helps us to grow our foundation from the bottom up,” said Felecia Jones Lucky, President of the foundation.
The BBCF Board of Directors has decided to use all of the monies raised by community associates toward making small community grants ($1,000 to $3,000 per grant) in the 12 county service area. The BBCF has not been able to make general support community grants for the past two years due to funding cutbacks. “Based on the outstanding work of the Community Associates and funds raised at our Legacy Award Dinner, we will be able to make at least $5,000 in community grants, in each of our twelve counties: Choctaw, Sumter, Pickens, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Dallas Wilcox, Lowndes, Macon and Bullock counties,” said Lucky.
The BBCF has had funds from the Alabama State Arts Council to make arts grants and other specific grants for summer educational activities, support for mentoring and other special activities for African-American boys and young men and other targeted projects.
“At our retreat, we discussed ways the Community Associates could share ideas, work on joint projects and help to strengthen the foundation,” said Christopher Spencer, who is on loan to BBCF from the University of Alabama Community Projects staff to help develop, inspire and grow the BBCF.
Each of the 12 counties has a group of Community Associates from 3 to 10. “We are always looking for new associates who want to build our county chapter. We give people information about the foundation programs and we do grassroots fundraising year round, “ said Miriam Leftwich, Chair of the Greene County Associates. “We also accept checks and funds from people, who don’t want to buy raffle tickets or donuts but we know it takes grassroots efforts to make the foundation grow,” said Leftwich.
Persons interested in becoming associates or contributing to the Black Belt Community Foundation can contact the website at www.blackbeltfound.com or visit the office in Selma, Alabama.