The 17th Crystal Ball will provide the backdrop to honor four outstanding Community Stars of Northwest Mississippi. The Crystal Ball helps over 420 nonprofit organizations and causes through the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, with an emphasis on education and health for children and youth. Tickets for the January 21 gala are $150 per person and are available for purchase at 662.449.5002 or www.CFNM.org until January 13 unless they sell out earlier. These regional Community Stars will be honored along with the gala’s Star of Hope, Richard Grant author of “Dispatches From Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta”.
The 2016 Dan Maddox Man of the Year honoree is Bill Clay of Greenwood. The Greenwood Mentoring Group was born in 2004 from Bill Clay’s driving passion to help the youth of Leflore County be successful in life. He has lived all of his life in the county, raised by a single mother, and was the first person in his family to graduate from college. The Group began operations in 2005 offering youth and parent workshops focused on recognizing and preventing gang involvement, healthy lifestyles, workforce development, and the value of an education. His wife shared the dream and supported him through the purchase of a building which is now the Learning Center. As the demand grew, a second building was purchased and class sizes increased. They are located in the areas they serve. Bill lives and works by the scripture “Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it: Proverbs 22:6.
The Group serves children 6 to 12 at no cost, but require the students to adhere to the rules: have discipline, a good attitude, and a willingness to learn. From August through October 2016, the Group served 569 students. An emphasis is placed on reading through a Mississippi Humanities Council program, Prime Time Family Reading. The love of reading led to the Readers’ Theatre encouraging the love of books and performance of the stories. Realizing that to be successful, the whole family needed to read, the Group started an adult literacy program for the parents who needed assistance.
The award is named after Dan Maddox who began his career in the credit and finance industry. His legacy includes the donation of RCA’s famous Studio B to the Co
untry Music Foundation, creation of the Presidential Scholars Program at Belmont University, and founding of the Shikar Safari Conservation in Africa. Dan Maddox and his beloved wife Margaret devoted their lives to entrepreneurship, adventure, and service. Their legacy lives today in the Maddox Foundation of Hernando. The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi was established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation.