Posted on Feb 26, 2019
L-R: Erin Granberry, Mike Dixon, and Mark Killingsworth
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President-Elect Mark Killingsworth presided over today’s meeting.
Michaela Harper gave today’s invocation. Bill MacLauchlan led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Kilingsworth and Garland Sullivan who served as our greeters today.
Brandon Hodges thanked those who helped with today’s meeting and then introduced today’s guests. Scott Hummel had Sureesh Seebalack and Amanda Seebalack as his guests today. Amanda will begin at William Carey University in the next few days. Bobbye Carey was a visiting Rotarian from the Baton Rouge Club.
Mark announced that member Joe Meador was recently hospitalized for surgery. He is improving.
Mark also noted that the board is looking for community service projects. If you have one in mind, please share it with Mark or Steven. He also encouraged members to sign up for the Rotary/Christian Services Meals on Wheels program. Two volunteers are needed every Thursday throughout the year.
Erin Granberry then introduced today’s speaker, Mike Dixon. Mike is a former Non-Rotarian of the Year recipient from our club. He currently serves as the executive director of the Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation.
Mike noted that the organization has shortened its name to the Pinebelt Foundation, created a new logo and a new look. He says the Foundation wants to be your charitable partner by supporting your favorite charity. He noted that their intention is not to compete with your charitable giving, but to be your partner and make the process simpler. Their main focus is to grow long-term charitable investments for our community, much the same way we create long-term investments for our own retirement.
 The Foundation works primarily through two types of funds. Spend Down funds are short-term funds that are intended to be spent down each year for charitable purposes throughout the community. One such fund is the Disaster Relief Fund. The community raised just over $800,000 after the recent tornados. That money has been used to rebuild 25 homes destroyed by the storms and to repair 35 to 40 others. Another Spend Down fund is America Reads. By pooling contributions and seeking matching grants, America Reads is able to fund 8 full-time reading tutors in area elementary schools.
Endowed Funds are designed to grow over time. Distributions are made to designated charities through generated interest. The Foundation’s investments have earned just over 5% annually for the past 10 years. The Ann Morris Fund was created to fund assistance to adults with mental disabilities. It was founded by Ann’s dad. Another Long-Term Fund is the Alex Katrishin Fund. Alex began this fund and distributions are used to benefit the YMCA. Since its creation $455,000 has been distributed to YMCA.
The Foundation also has a variety of other ways it works to make our community stronger and better. It will hold and distribute funds for new non-profits or non-profits that do not wish to achieve 501(c)3 status. Some of their funds are designed to offer tax benefits to donors. Mike suggested that you check with your tax accountant to see if the Foundation could provide more tax relief, especially with new IRS charitable contribution rules.
To get more information, call Mike at 601-583-6180 or email the Foundation at
Mark thanked our speaker and then adjourned the meeting with our motto, Service Above Self.