As most readers of this website know, CAHFH is and always has been utterly dependent on the generosity of its friends, too numerous to list individually. Lately, that reality has been beautifully manifested in an effort spearheaded by Jeff Brown, father of Uni alum and Habitat Club volunteer, Maddie Brown. Last March (as noted in a May 1 post), Jeff, Maddie, and Maddie’s boyfriend, Brady Carlson came to Clarksdale to lend their prodigious talents to the larger effort of community-building in the area. While Maddie and Brady concentrated on the odious tasks at 307 Bolivar and helped out with Clarksdale first Food Pantry drive during their week, Jeff (in his one day in Clarksdale) was sharing invaluable fund-raising advice with the Spring Initiative founders, after helping clean the Bolivar house and generally encouraging everybody with whom he came into contact. And then, in an impressive example of putting his money where his mouth, he offered to create a $5000 matching grant Give Lively campaign, which, about a month ago (and with the aid of the ever-helpful Isaac Freund), appeared on-line.

Though we knew we were going to be in great shape simply on the basis of Jeff’s generous gift, I was very interested to see how the rest of his plan would work out. I wasn’t necessarily skeptical, but neither was I especially confident, mostly because of my complete unfamiliarity with processes like this. But then the money began to roll in, and by the time the fund-raising ended, 42 contributors had donated well over the $5000 goal, with the final total of non-Jeff gifts coming to approximately $7500! To say that we were overjoyed would be a grotesque understatement, as we realized that this money, besides allowing us to continue to move forward on the Edwards St. house, would also allow us to eradicate the property tax hole from which we had been trying to escape ever since we discovered we were in it, back in January. And while the total gift tended to amaze me in general, what really impressed me was that most of that money came from people with whom we at CAHFH had never had any previous contact—and they were so generously giving based pretty much solely on Jeff’s encouragement to do so! Needless to say, the entire project was a genuine boost for all of us here, and not just the money (as much as it was truly and greatly appreciated), but also the level of support for our efforts, indicated by this generosity. So on we go, ever more thankful than ever, and hopeful that those who so generously gave will find themselves in some way blessed by their participation and, who knows, may even make it to Clarksdale themselves sometime, to experience the Habitat magic in person. In the meantime, we are undyingly grateful to Jeff and look forward to continuing to work with him, in whatever ways that may occur.

This also seems like an appropriate time to extend some other long overdue thank yous, in particular to Exelon and All-State, who have both contributed to CAHFH on behalf of their most excellent employees: from Exelon, Susan Hilt and from All-State, Pete Mulcahey and Blaise Davis. The Exelon grant arrived earlier this month and the All-State awards came late last year, while we still trying to get this website up and running. Better late (thanks) than never, I hope! And we are truly are grateful for all our fabulous donors, without whom we really could not exist.