Community Giving

Hattiesburg Community Partnership

Community Foundation(s): Central Minnesota

There’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that Americans will long remember the fall of 2005 for the damage that was inflicted on the Gulf Coast by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Much of the coast was devastated and citizens from other parts of the country reached out to help. The immediate response from Central Minnesota generated over $236,000 through CMCF which was prompted by a challenge issued by the Norm Skalicky Foundation. Those funds were dispersed to four agencies in New Orleans: Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Service, Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Another challenge by Ron and Darlene Schaefer prompted the formation of the Hattiesburg Community Partnership. Central Minnesotans reached out to Hattiesburg in numerous ways. Fundraising events included a showing of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” a city-wide garage sale and a Christmas concert by a local church. In addition, two bus loads of household goods and 30,000 pounds of chicken were sent down from area school children and businesses.

All totaled, more than $160,000 was donated through the Hattiesburg Community Partnership Fund set up at CMCF. Most of the money went to the United Way of Southeast Mississippi for relief agencies to assist those affected by the hurricanes and for holiday meals and toys.

Greg Vandal, then superintendent of Sauk Rapids-Rice Schools, served as facilitator for the partnership. “The Hattiesburg Community Partnership renewed my faith in the generosity of Central Minnesotans. And it’s difficult for me to imagine how we could have been so meaningfully involved without the support of CMCF.”

Dan Kibodeaux, director of the United Way of Southeast Mississippi, expressed that partnerships like this have helped the residents of Mississippi heal, “Gulf Coast residents began to smile again as a result of collaborative efforts like this. These are stories of success that warm the heart.”