Partnerships promote financial matters for young adults

Professionals the Greene County Board of Education shown here at Money Smart Training at Branch Heights sponsored by the Greene/Sumter EC and other community associations.

The Greene/Sumter Enterprise Community, FDIC, Branch Heights Housing Authority, the Greene County Board of Education, the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Alabama Asset Building Coalition hosted the FDIC Money Smart Train-The-Trainer for Young Adults to a group of 24 professionals from the Greene County Board of Education on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at the Branch Heights Housing Authority Community Center. This free seminar is designed to present the basics of classroom instruction; to enable and empower instructors to deliver approximately one-hour long courses on the FDIC’s Money Smart for Young Adults curriculum to students. The primary purpose is to provide the class participants with tools.

These tools may enhance their skills as a classroom instructor in teaching the modules. The seminar also gave ideas on how to present the Money Smart curriculum. Participants are encouraged to teach one or more of the modules to community members within the next 12 months.
Money Smart for Young Adults is:
*Free; Aligned with educational standards for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands, as well as Jump$tart financial education standards and National Council on Economic Education economic education standards;
*Based on the award-winning Money Smart adult financial education curriculum that can bring proven results in the money management practices and financial confidence of graduates;
*Offers a completely customizable curriculum comprised of modules that can be taught on a stand-alone basis;
*Not protected by copyright restrictions; and A source of unbiased information that is not “branded” with corporate logos or otherwise affiliated with any commercial interest.”
FDIC Community Affairs staff in the Atlanta Region is working in the Black Belt area of Alabama with the two adjoining Gulf Coast hurricane-impacted counties of Mobile and Baldwin.The effort joined with the Alabama Asset Building Coalition (AABC) to form the base for the Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI) coalition. The Black Belt AEI rollout event was launched in April 2007 and now has over 50 members. The multi-county initiative utilizes regional team leaders – a financial institution and a community foundation for the south Black Belt; an enterprise community organization in the west Black Belt and university in the east Black Belt. The regions focus on VITA with direct deposit account openings, savings initiatives, financial education and individual development accounts (IDAs).

Alabama Power donates $100,000 to the Black Belt Community Foundation

href=””&gt;L-R are Mark Crews, Felecia Jones, George McMillan and Dess Feick<a

On Wednesday, December 8, 2010, Alabama Power Company made a $100,000 donation to the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF). The presentation was made by Mark Crews, Vice President for the Alabama Power Western Division in Tuscaloosa and Dess Feick with the Alabama Power Birmingham Office.
This $100,000 contribution will be matched by $50,000 from the Ford Foundation as part of the foundation’s challenge grant to BBCF. The Ford Foundation has offered the BBCF up to $1 million at the rate of one dollar for every two dollars it raises toward its endowment fund.
“The Black Belt Community Foundation can’t say thank you enough to Alabama Power and all our friends inside and outside of the Black Belt who have demonstrated their commitment to making the region better,” said Felecia Jones, foundation executive director. “It’s through their generous support, leadership, hard work and dedication that we are able to help create a more prosperous Black Belt.”
The Black Belt Community Foundation was established in 2004.
Its purpose was to support local efforts that contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all of the region’s people and communities.
To date, BBCF has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to support more than 400 community led initiatives across the foundation’s 12 county service area.
The Ford Foundation has recognized BBCF’s good work by selecting it as one of only five nonprofit organizations nationwide to participate in its Rural Development Philanthropy Endowment Initiative. Through the Ford Foundation initiative, BBCF has been challenged to build an endowment that can sustain its important mission for generations to come.
“It’s clear to us how the Black Belt Community Foundation has been working to transform the Black Belt, making it a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Mark Crosswhite, Alabama Power executive vice president. “Alabama Power is very pleased to contribute to the BBCF’s success and help it further its goal of creating a more vital Black Belt region.”
Alabama Power’s donation, plus the matching grant from the Ford Foundation, boosts the
BBCF endowment to more than $ 1.3 million. Jones said she hopes the Alabama Power gift will help spur additional contributions from corporations and foundations and bring the
BBCF closer to its $2 million goal.
“We’ve made tremendous progress, but there is so much more to accomplish,” Jones said. “With the help of corporate, philanthropic and community partners, we want to continue to contribute to the growth and development of the Black Belt and its people.”
For more information about the Black Belt Community Foundation, visit
To learn how you can help support the organization and its Ford Foundation challenge grant, contact the BBCF Office at 334-874-1126 or
Shown above are: Erica Crenshaw, Samory Pruitt, Feleica Jones, George McMillan, Dess Feick, Kathy McVay, Carol P. Zippert, Rev. Chris Spencer and Whitney Green

Black Belt Community Foundation awards $175,000 to 62 organizations

Eight Greene County groups received BBCF Community Grants at the 2010 Community Grant Awards Ceremony held Saturday, September 24 at Wallace Community College Selma.

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) awarded $175,000 to 62 community organizations in the ninth round of its Community Grants Program to serve its 12 county Alabama impact area. 

Since 2005, over $800,000 has been awarded by BBCF to  community organizations through the Community Grants Program. An additional $690,000 has been awarded in the foundation’s Community Arts Program, in conjunction with the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural and Youth Committee of the Black Belt  Action Commission.

Eight Greene County organizations were awarded grants in this round, including:

*Center for Rural Family Development: $3,000 to purchase computers, printers and program supplies and to support program publicity for the “Speak Up” program.

*First United Rural Family Development Center: $3,000 to support utility expenses, internet services, educational materials and transportation for their tutorial program.

*FOGCE Federal Credit Union: $3,000 to purchase computer workstations, printers and software.

*Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.: $3,000 to support youth educational programs for the ‘Dr. Bettye Shabazz Delta Academy,’ a DST  national project serving young girls in middle school.

*Greene County Children’s Policy Council: $3,000 to support field trips, instructional and technological supplies for tutorial program.

* Greene County Humane Society: $3,000 to purchase animal traps and support veterinarian and transportation expenses for the county’s animal control efforts.

  * Greene County Humane Society: $3,000 to purchase animal traps and support veterinarian and transportation expenses for the county’s animal control efforts.

 * Harambe Community Youth Organization: $2,850 to sponsor transportation costs and registration fees for three leadership camps and cultural field trips in addition to materials for creative expression.

* Woman to Woman: $3,000 to purchase and upgrade computers and softwear for mentee’s computer lab.

At the meeting, BBCF Board members Carol P. Zippert and George McMillan reported on the foundation’s challenge grant to raise  funds in the Black Belt and from other supporters to develop an endowment fund for the foundation to continue its operations and grant giving program into the future.

    The Ford Foundation,  which has been a principal supporter of the foundation since its inception,  has provided a $1 million challenge grant, to match contributions to BBCF’s endowment fund on a $1 for every $2 raised locally basis. So the BBCF must raise $2 million from local and other supporters to realize the full $1 million in matching funds for the endowment from Ford Foundation. Ford is also requiring that the BBCF recruit at least 1,000 new donors from the local impact area as part of the challenge.

Carol Zippert, Greene County Board member, explained that “as of Saturday, BBCF had raised a little over $1 million from 410 donors towards the challenge. We must raise another $1 million and find 600 more new donors by the end of March 2011. This will be our major focus for the next six months. Any person, business or organization living in the Black Belt or supportive of the BBCF can become a donor philanthropist and help us meet this challenge. Meeting the endowment challenge will help us make the BBCF more viable and effective for the future.”

 George McMillan of Birmingham, former Lt. Governor of Alabama, who serves as Chair of the BBCF Board, asked each of the over 200 people assembled for the grant ceremony, “to consider becoming a donor and giving from $1 to $1,000 to be part of the foundation.” Over 40 people contributed close to $1,000 in cash and pledges at the Saturday ceremony to help BBCF get closer to its endowment challenge goal.

 For more information or to contribute to the Black Belt Community Foundation, contact: Felecia Jones, Executive Director at P. O. Box 2020, 609 Lauderdale Street, Selma, Alabama 36702; phone 334/874-1131;

Black Belt Community Foundation to give $175,000 at 2010 Community Grant Ceremony


The Black Belt Community Foundation will host its ninth Community Grants Award Ceremony on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm at Wallace Community College in Selma, AL.

BBCF is proud to highlight the largest and most diverse group of grantees in BBCF history. These sixty-two organizations from across twelve Black Belt counties will receive grant awards totaling $175,000. Projects include local fire departments, agriculture programs, youth leadership programs, community education programs, and animal control efforts.

According to BBCF Director Felicia Jones, the public is invited to come help us celebrate the hard work and dedication of our 62 grantee organizations and the work they do to transform Alabama’s Black Belt Region.

The Black Belt Community Foundation was established in 2004 to support community efforts in the Black Belt that will contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all of the region’s people and communities.  The Foundation has awarded over $800,000 through its Community Grants Program.    

 For additional information on the Black Belt Community Foundation or the Community Grants Program, contact the office at 334.874.1126 or