Over the past four years, Itawamba County nonprofit Crossroads Ranch has netted more than $700,000 for its community for special needs adults; in January, the organization hopes to raise nearly half that amount in a single night.
Good thing they’ll be receiving help from World Series champion Brian Dozier.
Crossroads Ranch will host the Golden Halo fundraiser on Jan. 25 at the Tupelo Furniture Market, Building 5. The event replaces the organization’s previous fundraiser, Denim & Diamonds, held for the past four years at Fulton’s Sheffield Manor.
For those who’ve attended one of Crossroads Ranch’s previous fundraisers, Golden Halo will probably seem familiar, save a shift in venue and celebrity appearances. Tickets are $100 per person. Once inside the doors, guests will enjoy multiple auctions, dinner and live music.
Dozier, a Fulton native and pitcher for the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, will serve as master of ceremonies. Crossroads Ranch is among several organizations Dozier both promotes and financially supports.
The organization was one of two nonprofits to which Dozier pledged to donate $5,000 per win in the World Series. The Nationals won 12 games.
Dozier won’t be the only celebrity appearing at the event. Singer/songwriter Brett James, who has penned songs for enough musicians to fill the Grammy Awards’ guest list, is scheduled to perform. Among the artists who have recorded James’s songs are Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Tim McGraw, The Fray, Luke Bryan and The Backstreet Boys.
According to Susan Sheffield, director of outreach and fundraising for Crossroads Ranch, the organization has seen a lot of success through its Denim & Diamonds fundraiser. They’re hoping that will continue with the new event.
“This is about the special needs adults, as it has always been,” Sheffield told The Times via email. “We want to pack Building 5 with supporters who love these adults.”
The change in name and venue was largely to accommodate Dozier’s busy schedule. Although he’s helped raise money for Crossroads Ranch for years, he came to the organization requesting to be more involved.
“Brian [Dozier] came to us wanting to help us reach more people with our mission and fundraising dollars,” Sheffield said. “He wants to help complete the ranch and sustain it in the years to come.”
Work on the ranch, which will serve as a home and workplace for high-functioning special needs adults, has been underway for years. Once complete, residents will live in duplexes, each with two identical 597-square-foot apartments. Each duplex will open into a small entranceway with a closet and a door to a shared safe room, which residents can use to take shelter during storms. Each apartment will include a living area, bedroom and bathroom, plus a fridge and washer and dryer.
Near the duplexes, a 5,042-square-foot lodge will act as the hub of the community. The building features a full kitchen and dining area, chapel, classrooms and more. A short trip down the road from the lodge and duplexes is the ranch’s workshop, where residents make pottery, the sale of which will help cover the cost of operating the ranch. Nearby, there’s a greenhouse and space for animals.
Sheffield said the first three duplexes, which will house six residents, and the lodge are nearly finished. In June, the organization plans to begin construction on two additional duplexes. Construction of walkways and drives should also be complete by mid-2020.
Crossroads Ranch is scheduled to open in early November. The money the organization raises during the Golden Halo event will go toward helping them do just that.
According to Sheffield, they hope to raise $300,000 during the event. She said she knows it’s a lofty goal, but the ranch’s community support has always been strong.
“We know our community and surrounding areas,” she said. “We should be able to meet and hopefully surpass it.”
Having Dozier in their corner helps.
“We love our hometown boy and everyone is so proud of who he is and what he’s accomplished,” Sheffield said. “We’re just grateful that he loves the ranch and our special needs adults and has a desire to support them.”