Theresa Erickson

Theresa Erickson with the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi extols the virtues of the organization during the Hernando Rotary Club meeting Wednesday.  

Leaving a legacy behind that will benefit generations present and future is the goal of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.

Theresa Erickson, Development Director at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, said more and more individuals and families are discovering the intrinsic benefits to individuals and families.

"Everyone here can leave a legacy," said Erickson, who arrived at her position with the Community Foundation after a successful stint with the Pinebelt Foundation in Hattiesburg.

Erickson was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Hernando on Wednesday.

The concept of having an organization like a community foundation within the United States dates back more than a century with a man named Judge Fredrick Goff, who started the very first community foundation in the nation in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914.

Now there are 789 community foundations across the country and seven across Mississippi.

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi was established in 2002.

Erickson said the Community Foundation acts as a catalyst and a conduit to assist individuals and families with managing funds at a very minimal cost.

"It's the gift that keeps on giving," according to Erickson.

"Even 200 years from now, you can contribute to give to the Foundation or cause that you love," Erickson said.

The Community Foundation manages about 18.1 million in assets and oversees more than 230 donor advised funds and other nonprofit monies.

Community organizations which stage nonprofit events like the annual Shoot For the Heart which benefits students in nursing programs at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

That event raised 340,000 for its cause as did the Wayne Bartley Give A Kid A Chance To Be Kid Autism Early Intervention Program which has raised almost the exact same amount in the nearly 19 years of that event's history.

"Anyone can give," Erickson said, relaying a story about a 10-year-old girl who raised funds in several glass jars to give to a 16-year-old fighting cancer.

That effort led to others giving small to larger amounts and that fund in particular has grown nearly ten-fold, according to Erickson.

Noah's Gift, a donor advised fund with the Community Foundation assists youth in pursuing their goals and dreams.

The Noah's Gift Memorial 5K is Saturday, Oct. 27 in Hernando starting at the Maddox Foundation on Commerce Street. Runners, walkers, and skaters are needed! Register now -

Volunteers are also needed to set up the course, set up water stations along the course, and lots of other jobs that it takes to make this event successful. To volunteer and for additional details please contact Glenda Gurley at

"You can start with just about anything," Erickson said. Erickson added that she encourages nonprofits to at least raise 10,000 in order that dividends from funds can be distributed.

"We connect people who care with causes that matter," said Erickson, echoing the Community Foundation's theme.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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