CREATE Foundation President Mike Clayborne speaks during last week’s South Monroe County Community Fund grant ceremony. Also pictured, from left, Sallie and Dwight McComb, Jim Edwards and Jeff Clay.

ABERDEEN – Eight Aberdeen projects ranging from protection to preservation benefited from this year’s South Monroe County Community Fund grant awards June 6, which totaled $14,000.

“In 10 or 11 years, we have given away between $120,000 and $150,000 to various local nonprofit agencies. It’s wonderful to get together every year and do this,” said SMCCF Chairperson Kathy Seymour.

The SMCCF operates through the CREATE Foundation, and its president, Mike Clayborne, said its role is to partner to facilitate money to support positive things in the community.

CREATE recently partnered with SMCCF to make a $10,000 donation to the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department to go towards the construction of a new fire station to replace the one totaled by the April 13 tornado.

As far as this year’s grants, the Aberdeen Police Department was awarded one for body cameras.

“In today’s day and time, there’s all this he said, she said. With body cameras, everybody will know what was said,” said Aberdeen Assistant Police Chief Quinell Shumpert.

Tenn-Tom Moving Youth’s Certified Nurse Assistant program was a recipient. Its director, Ann Tackett, said there were 106 graduates from seven programs statewide last year, and 38 of them graduated from Tenn-Tom Moving Youth’s program.

Aberdeen Elementary School Principal Lauren Fondren accepted a grant on behalf of Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry for a backpack feeding program partnership with the school district. The food pantry received an additional grant to defer expenses to purchase a motorized pallet jack.

The Bukka White Blues Festival will host wildlife biologist Bob Tarter’s animal show with the grant it received.

The Aberdeen School District benefited from two grants – one for the Junior Beta Club’s trip to the national competition in Oklahoma and one for an ACT testing program.

“All the juniors in the state take the ACT, and what we’ve found out is a lot of our students don’t take it until it’s mandated. We’re going to put this money at the middle school and put some district money with it to encourage up to 70, or however many students we can get, to take it earlier so they know what to expect,” said ASD Superintendent Jeff Clay.

The final award went to benefit a video documentary to preserve local history. Tackett was given an extensive collection of photographs taken and owned by the late Arthur Elkin, and the project will capture the significance of events and names of people in the photo albums.

“There’s not one written word in these scrapbooks, but he did them chronically and evidently went everywhere with a camera in his hand,” she said of Elkin. “He had the Kroger store, he had every parade, the Watermelon Festival, the festival for the end of World War I and World War II.”

Clayborne added the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill known as Endow Mississippi providing $500,000 of tax credits for those contributing to endowment organizations such as the SMCCF.

“The minimum gift is $1,000. If you give $1,000 to the South Monroe County Community Fund and we can get it included in the application and approved, you get a $250 tax credit from Mississippi. You’d be able to make $1,000 contribution for $750 basically,” he said. “The maximum gift is $200,000 where you’d get a $50,000 tax credit, but we’re probably going to place some limitations on that so we can spread it out.”

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