A pair of generous gifts, totaling $50,000, from the Madison Charitable Foundation will help support two worthy University of Mississippi programs with very different missions: the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the Ole Miss Women's Council for Philanthropy (OMWC).
The Madison Charitable Foundation, founded by Houston, Texas, businessman and Mississippi native Wiley H. Hatcher, recently contributed $25,000 to the OMWC, a group that attracts scholarship funds for students, pairs recipients with mentors and provides leadership training. The foundation gave another $25,000 to the Ford Center, which offers quality live performing arts experiences.
"The foundation supports a wide variety of charitable organizations ranging from children's hospitals, universities and food banks to after-school-care organizations for underprivileged children," said James "Joc" Carpenter, Hatcher's longtime friend and business partner and a member of the Madison Charitable Foundation's board of directors.
Carpenter, an Ole Miss alumnus, said he and his wife, Leigh Anne, admire the work of both OMWC and the Ford Center.
"Leigh Anne and I believe the arts are a very important part of our society and have supported them personally as well as through the foundation," he said. "We believe what the Ford Center for Performing Arts contributes to the university, Oxford and the state of Mississippi is immense and deserves our support."
Norman Easterbrook, director of the Ford Center, expressed gratitude for the $25,000 gift. "These funds will underwrite performance activity in the Ford Center to include events presented by the University's departments of Music and Theatre, our Student Programming Board and other student organizations as well as the performances that we bring from the Broadway touring circuit and the classical music community."
Such gifts allow the center to "bring the campus experience to a higher level and lift up our performing arts programs," Easterbrook added. "Endowments of this nature give us the financial resources to provide the very best programming at an affordable cost to our students, faculty, staff and the surrounding region."
Created in 2000, the OMWC provides endowed scholarships for its beneficiaries and, through an innovative leadership and mentorship program, guides students into successful careers while helping them develop important life skills.
"Leigh Anne and I believe the work done by the Women's Council is so unique and cutting-edge that it was a very easy call to want to participate," Carpenter said. "Their scholarship and mentoring program should be a model for others."
Sarah Hollis, associate director of development in the UM Office of Development, said the Madison Charitable Foundation gift has established a permanent endowment to benefit the OMWC's Leadership Series. "The Leadership Series was developed not only for OMWC scholars but also for students outside of the program," Hollis noted. "Between 50 and 60 students from OMWC, Ole Miss First, the Lott Leadership Institute and the Office of Student Affairs participate in the program."
The Madison Charitable Foundation has been a generous supporter of Ole Miss since its inception. It has given other support to the Ford Center and Ole Miss Opportunity and established an endowment for the Ole Miss First scholarship program. The foundation also donated $1 million to the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The Ole Miss Women's Council for Philanthropy and the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts are open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations by sending a check with the programs noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655, or by visiting www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.