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 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”.

Spring Initiative of Clarksdale has been selected as the 2016 Non-Profit of the Year.  Spring Initiative offers children a place where statistics can be beaten and where hope can be embraced realistically.   Spring’s mission is to work with the children who need help the most and to work with the whole child and by extension the family of that child. With five cohorts- Baby University for parents and babies; Junior Spring for grades 2-4; Big Spring, grades 5-8; Spring UP, grades 9-12; and College Spring, Spring graduates- , Spring works to overcome adverse academic, social, emotional, and economic inequality for the children it serves. Spring works through intense involvement to help children be successful in school, be emotionally stable, be successful in relational skills, be engaged in healthy lifestyles, and eventually to be successful college students. Children for whom high school graduation seemed unrealistic now pursue the goal of a college degree. As they transform their lives with Spring’s help, they changes the lives of their families. Changed lives change communities. Spring Initiative has seen the reading levels of its children rise dramatically, has seen grades in all subjects rise, has taken children on trips to visit colleges and to see a world beyond their imaginations, has had seven students accepted to Piney Woods Boarding School and has remained a presence in their lives, has a 100% high school graduation rate among its students, and has a 100% college enrollment rate. These are statistics that give a measure of what Spring is doing.

“These outstanding individuals and organizations make Northwest Mississippi a better place to live,” said Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi President Tom Pittman. “We are pleased to lift them up as stars for us to appreciate and follow.”