Sophie McNeil Wolf
In 1955, when University of Mississippi Medical Center first opened, pediatrics was only one unit in one wing of the hospital. That didn’t sit well with Dr. Blair E. Batson. He believed that children weren’t mini adults and needed specialized care. Through hard work and dedication, Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children opened in 1968 to grow and thrive as the only comprehensive children’s hospital in Mississippi.
Batson continued in the long tradition of generosity held in Fondren and the tradition continues today. From Jill Conner Browne’s Sweet Potato Queens and her loyal fans bringing a festive parade to the neighborhood every year to raise funds for the hospital to Ronald McDonald House, Kidney Foundation and other charities, Fondren is there.
Through talent, skills, service, and financial gifts, the people of Fondren and beyond choose to make a difference here. It is not uncommon to see businesses helping businesses and for residents to stand together and give back. There is an awareness here – not only through charitable giving, but also intentional understanding of community. Shopping local and keeping money in our local economy is important for businesses and shoppers alike.
Wherever you go in Fondren, people are giving back, whether to their local merchants or citizens in need. It is that sense of nurturing and pride that makes Fondren a place Jacksonians want to give back 365 days a year.
The mission of the Mississippi Kidney Foundation, chartered in 1965, is to serve Mississippi kidney patients by providing quality programs and services, to provide public education and screening to promote the prevention of kidney disease, and promote organ donation throughout the state. Annually, the organization hosts a fundraising walk and in 2012, it raised over $100,000. kidneyms.org
The Mississippi Ronald McDonald House opened its doors on May 1, 1989. Since that time, it has been a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children who must travel to Jackson for medical care. The Ronald McDonald House is a home where the families of critically ill children can temporarily reside in a caring and comfortable environment; a place where they can share their fears and concerns, receive the support of others who are in similar circumstances and gain strength during the most difficult time in their lives. ronaldmcdonaldhousems.com
Keep Jackson Beautiful was incorporated in 1961 by civic and business leaders and became a certified Keep America Beautiful affiliate in 1984. The organization is dedicated to changing attitudes and behavior towards environmental issues such as littering and recycling and holds clean up efforts and planting efforts throughout the city. keepjacksonbeautiful.com
Since 1986, Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson has built 500 houses in partnership with low-income families in need. Their Preservation Program has provided low-cost home repair for more than 50 families, and resources to reduce energy consumption through weatherization for over 100 families. In late 2011, Habitat joined forces with Fondren Renaissance to partner in the Phoenix Initiative. Begun and sponsored with an initial grant from St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. for $250,000, the program provides home owner facade grants. The hospital has pledged an additional $90,000. habitatjackson.org
The Hard Places Community was founded by Alli Mellon, Executive Director, in February 2008. Her brother, Drew Mellon, a Fondrenite, is the USA director.
Hard Places serves young children who are being trafficked against their will. Prook Thmey, a prevention & restoration for girls, and Punlok Thmey, a prevention and restoration center for boys, help both to learn a better way of life. hardplaces-community.org
Bravo!, Sal & Mookie’s, and Broad Street have teamed together to bring in “Traffic For Charities.” Every month, a local charity is featured to be the benefactor of diners’ purchases. BRAVO!’s Corks for Charity, Sal & Mookie’s Charity Pint Night and Broad Street’s “Have You Hugged Your Community Today?”each in their own ways, offer a helping hand. broadstbakery.com