Meridian Star

May 15, 2013

Conference tackles stubborn challenges

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     How can we create large-scale social and economic changes in Mississippi? That's the question of Mississippi's nonprofit, government and philanthropic organizations worked to answer last week as they gathered in Jackson for the 2013 Positioned for Progress conference.

    The "super conference" combined four state organizations' annual conference into one mass gathering where professionals from the varied groups shared their diverse experiences, opinions and ideas on the challenges the state faces.

    "This super conference was developed based on the goals of Blueprint Mississippi, the major statewide initiative designed to create an action strategy for putting Mississippi in the place of greatest opportunity," said Haley Fisackerly, 2013 chairman of the Mississippi Economic Council and president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, Inc. "A key way for this to happen is to bring all sectors together so each can have a voice in what it will take to move the state forward."

    Rebecca Combs-Dulaney, CEO of the Phil Hardin Foundation stated that, "We have all worked in our separate little enclaves for a number of years and the realization is it hasn't worked. These collaborations seek to change that."

    This was the annual conference's second year and has brought in national groups to observe the workings of this collaboration. Partners were Mississippi Association of Grantmakers, Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies, Mississippi Center for Nonprofits, and Volunteer Mississippi.

    Sponsors included the Phil Hardin Foundation, Entergy Mississippi, Inc., Mississippi Power Company, Atmos Energy and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi.

    Supporters were the United Ways of Mississippi and Children's Defense Fund-Southern Regional Office.