City Schools Foundation reaches “hallelujah goal”

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Shouts of “hallelujah” echoed through the room, and several damp eyes could be spotted as the Demopolis City Schools Foundation met the goal of $1 million in its Endowment Fund.

The announcement came at the 20th annual Donor Appreciation Celebration Thursday, a time when contributors to the Foundation and its projects are recognized.

The goal was reached thanks to a $25,000 donation from the Alabama Power Foundation announced by Mark Crews, vice president of the company’s Western Division. Earlier in the evening Peter Michael Reynolds, the DCSF Endowment Chair, said the fund had reached $982,000. Alabama Power’s contribution put it over the top.

The $1 million target had been set by the first DCSF president, the late Hugh Lloyd, who called it the “Hallelujah Goal.” Now that the mark has been reached, the Foundation can use interest on the earnings to expand the number of grants it awards each year, said Reynolds.

DCSF president Sarah Chandler Hallmark said the Foundation distributed $63,000 in grants during the 2014-2015 school year.

“We are the true stewards of your donations,” said Paul Miller, Grants Committee chairman, enabling teachers to “enhance educational experience.”

Singled out for special recognition for his support of the DCSF was John Cox Web IV. Diane Brooker, manager of the Alabama Power office in Demopolis, said Webb sat on the company board longer than any but the founder of the company and has seen it through difficult economic times, natural disasters and increasingly strict regulations.

“He has been doing all this while never forgetting Demopolis,” she said.

Brooker introduced a video prepared by the Alabama Power public relations office about the Foundation. It included scenes from classes using DCSF grant funds as well as interviews of current Foundation director Amanda Barnes, past directors, principals and teachers.

Prior to the recognition of major donors, Kim Townsend, DCSF vice president and Membership chairman, said more than $74,000 was raised in membership contributions during the year, the largest source of income for the Foundation.

Recognized at the Executive level of giving were Georgia-Pacific, Parr’s and WestRock. Patrons are Mark Abrams, Greene County Steam Plant, CEMEX, Jackson-Newell Foundation, Claud and Cindy Neilson, Louise Webb Reynolds, Robertson Banking Company, Rotary Club of Demopolis, State Farm Companies – Kris Mullins, Trustmark and John Cox Webb IV.

Those acknowledged for giving at the Partner level received a certificate with artwork by student Miles Knott, who received his own certificate and a small award. Partners were JD and Amanda Barnes, Thomas and Alice Boggs, Billy and Betsy Coplin, Demopolis Area Business Council, Luke and Sara Chandler Hallmark, Jere Levy, Marengo Insurance Agency, Dick and Jan McDonald, Kris and Donna Mullins, Frank and Lucette Osborne, Ronnie and Robin O’Neal, John and Mary Rutledge, Tony and Terri Speegle and Roger and Carolyn Willis.

The Foundation also recognized the named Endowments made during the year: Foster Farms; Amanda Barnes, given by John C. Webb III and Marie Suttle Webb Foundation; Peter Michael Reynolds III, given by the John C. Webb III and Marie Suttle Webb Foundation, and Kayte and Thomas Melton, given by Dan and Vickie Wilson.

Recognized for Endowment Support were J.R. Rivas, Bill and Catherine Meador, Joe and Martha Turner, Demopolis High and Demopolis Academy 1970s Reunion Group, Bill Horton and Judilyn Brooks, John and Nancy Northcutt, Angela Northcutt Hollifield and William and Katheryn Cunningham.

Before the program the large crowd at the Coplin Building got a glimpse of Dig-I-Tron, the latest robot built by the Demopolis Robotics Team, watched as the Demopolis Middle School broadcast students interviewed and filmed the proceedings and enjoyed food prepared by the Culinary Arts students at Demopolis High School.