Sunday, August 7, 2022

Mississippi Delta Leaders Create Endowment for B.B. King Museum


The life of B. B. King shines in the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola. Now, an endowment has been established to help cover the costs of its continuing operation, and others can make tax-deductible contributions to the endowment.

“The museum saw very quickly that we needed additional sources of funding to operate the museum like it was intended and to reach out to the community with educational programs,” museum chairman Bill McPherson of Indianola said. “The endowment gives a base for our fundraising every year.”

Indianola raised $14 million to accomplish its vision of designing and building the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. Including the cotton gin where B.B. King worked as a young man, the museum builds on the Northwest Mississippi’s reputation as birthplace of the Blues and outstanding musicians. In its first six years, the Indianola museum told his story to over 30,000 visitors from all 50 states and over 35 countries.

McPherson joined with his cousins Tom and Walton Gresham to establish an Endowment that will cover a portion of the museum’s costs every year. They started the endowment at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi with a combined $400,000 donation. Thanks to support from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation added $100,000 to the Endowment. With professional investment management, the Endowment will provide up to $25,000 every year toward the Museum’s continued operation and outreach while preserving the donors’ original investment.

“We know the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi as a trusted partner for endowments and other philanthropy in the Delta. We are pleased to have this foundation available,” said Tom Gresham.

Others who want to ensure the continued operation of the B. B. King Museum can contribute to its endowment at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, 315 Losher St., Hernando, Miss. 38632 or online.

“Since it is a Community Foundation, anyone can add to the Endowment for the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. We want to see it continue to develop as a major asset for the Delta,” said Walton Gresham. “The Community Foundation is willing to work with any group or family that is interested in setting up an endowment for a worthy cause and make sure it is adequately funded for the future.”

The Community Foundation manages 212 donor-established funds and has distributed $13.9 million to support 420 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the foundation. Established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501.c.3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties. A board of 17 volunteer civic leaders governs the Community Foundation. Learn more about the Community Foundation online or call (662) 449-5002.

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