Federal Home Land Bank assists Lighthouse Mission, R3SM

By BUSTER WOLFE,

Two Hattiesburg nonprofit organizations received $36,000 in grants recently to provide services to homeless mothers and children, and to families affected by natural disasters. The Partnership Grant Program funds were awarded to Lighthouse Rescue Mission and R3SM by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, The First, A National Bank, and BancorpSouth Bank.

The structure of the PGP allows FHLB Dallas member institutions like The First, A National Banking Association and BancorpSouth Bank to make a contribution of $500 to $4,000 to a community-based organization, which FHLB Dallas will match at a 3:1 ratio.

Kenneth Thronson, founder and director of the Lighthouse Rescue Mission, located at 204 Eupora St., said the $20,000 grant would be put to good use. The First and BancorpSouth both contributed to the Lighthouse Rescue Mission grant.

“We are going to use it for salaries and also for different curriculums that we have and different videos for children that we have to have in their classes,” he said. “We are really excited about the lives we are going to impact by this money. We are a free program for ladies who come through battling addiction and so this is going to help fund that program for these families that don’t have money to go into your traditional recovery programs.”

Evelyn Edwards, vice president and Community Development grant specialist for BancorpSouth Bank, praised FHLB Dallas and the Lighthouse Rescue Mission for their work.

“I salute the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas for being innovators and igniting light in dark places,” she said. “That light enables operational funds to serve the homeless, women and children that have a desire to not be held captive and bounced back from abusive and addictive circumstances. To you, the Lighthouse Rescue Mission, please accept my personal gratitude for your sacrifice and labor of love.”

Mavis Creagh, case manager and supervisor at R3SM – which stands for Recover, Rebuild, Restore Mississippi – said the funds will help fill out the current budget. The $16,000 grant caps the total amount available to the nonprofit.

“This will go toward our budget for the year because when we started out at the beginning of the year, we did not have enough operational funds to sustain ourselves,” she said. “So we were working on faith and believed if we continued to do the work, support would come from the community. It fills the gap.”

Creagh said the funds provide a great sense of relief.

“Even though we are doing the work in the community every day, the focus should be on the clients,” she said. “The majority of the money that is being raised from the community should go on the clients because that’s who lost their homes and their lives have been devastated. That’s our focus today and I am just believing by faith that with the different people we partner with that the doors will open and sustain us to continue to do the work.”

R3SM, located at 301 Buschman St., is a community-based organization established in 2006 in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. The focus of the nonprofit is to help restore lives after a disaster, primarily by coordinating disaster case management and the repair and rebuild of homes.    

The First, A National Banking Association worked with FHLB Dallas to match funds for R3SM’s grant. Jerome Brown, Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development for The First, said the bank had been working with the nonprofit for several years.

“We are thankful to be a part of the process and be a good partner in what we want to do in the community,” he said. “We demolished a home on their behalf in town probably about four or five years ago. We’ve been thoroughly involved with them and we want to continue to wish them great success.”

Mark Loya, Senior Affordable Housing Analyst for FHLB Dallas, said the program is important to the Federal Home Loan Bank.

“It’s very important to us because through partnerships with our member banks we are able to help them leverage funding that they can provide to local nonprofit organizations,” he said. “The leveraging increases the amount of money that the nonprofit community-based organizations can receive. They can use the money most importantly for everyday operations, increasing staff capacity, professional services and even to attract more funding by hiring grant writers.”

Loya said The First served as the partner with R3SM in trying to get the grant funding.

“We matched their funding 3:1 and we have a lottery system where they were selected,” he said.