SOAR presents nearly $20,000 in grants

SOAR Community Foundation board members Charles Weatherly and Suzanne Dressel present a grant of $1,000 to Joe Ray Underwood from the Starkville-MSU Symphony for the Carnegie Foundation's Link Up program. This is one of 12 grants SOAR gave to local organizations at a celebration tea on Tuesday. (Photo by Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Starkville Oktibbeha Achieving Results (SOAR) Community Foundation hosted a celebration tea at the Claiborne at Adelaide on Tuesday where SOAR Board Members presented $19,907 to 12 local organizations and programs.

SOAR was started in 2002 and is an affiliate of the CREATE Foundation, which SOAR Executive Director Jan Eastman said is the oldest and largest charitable foundation in the state of Mississippi.

Through SOAR, people can donate money to support programs and organizations which help further the community.

"Locally raised money gets endowed — that means it is permanent so it is never spent, it stays invested — and whatever the earnings are, the local board of directors gives out grants to local organizations and programs," Eastman said.

Since 2005, SOAR has raised $162,907 for 34 different organizations and programs within Oktibbeha County. The focus areas for the SOAR grants are education, human services, beautification in community appearance, infrastructure and historic preservation.

"As our needs in the community change, the grants and programs we support will change because it is based on what the communities and what the people need," Eastman said.
In addition to the awards given on Tuesday, SOAR will present three Teacher of Distinction awards at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's annual banquet in January or February of 2018 to recognize three teachers in Starkville and Oktibbeha public and private schools.

On Tuesday, SOAR presented grant money to:

-Christian World Missions to help complete the upstairs in the facility for their Youth Community Explosion initiative

-Starkville United Methodist Church to expand its Backpack Ministry to Starkville High School

-The Starkville Community Theatre as a season sponsorship

-Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District for the WorkKeys program

-Friends of the Starkville Public Library for books to use in the Summer an Fall Reading Programs

-Brickfire Project to replace stolen computers used in their children's programs

-Camp Jigsaw, a summer camp for autistic boys

-Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Association for the Carnegie Foundation's Link Up program, The Orchestra Sings, they host for school children

-CREATE Foundation for the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo

-$50 each to 11 Oktibbeha County students graduating with their G.E.D.

-Merchandise to be sold at the Rally in Sturgis on Aug. 19 to raise money for the Starkville High School Art Department.