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Thursday, August 30, 2007




(JACKSON, Mississippi) - A special recovery fund created by Governor Haley Barbour in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has raised and granted more than $34 million to help rebuild Coast housing, community centers, playgrounds and day care facilities.


The Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund was created as a nonprofit organization within a few days after Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in American history, struck Mississippi on August 29, 2005.

“My intention in creating this special fund was to attract private monies to help victims of the hurricane with recovery costs that exceeded coverage from other sources, such as insurance, government grants, and immediate relief programs,” Governor Barbour said. “I am tremendously grateful for the generosity of more than 9,500 individuals and companies from all over the world and for the voluntary service of the fund’s outstanding board and officers who have allocated all $34 million raised to projects designed to benefit Coast recovery.”


Richard Hickson, of Jackson, chairman of the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund’s Board of Directors, said the fund’s resources actually leveraged funding from other sources, providing a projected total of more than $114 million for a variety of Coast projects.


The fund benefited from these fund-raising events: the Mississippi Rising Concert in Oxford, a Culinary Reception in Jackson, and the Governor’s Cup Golf Tournament at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point.
The second annual Governor’s Cup, a special golf event at the Beau Rivage’s Fallen Oaks Golf Club in May of this year, raised $2.75 million specifically for Boys and Girls Clubs on the Coast. In addition, the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund contributed $12.4 million.


“Working with the Governor and the fund’s outstanding board to meet many needs left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said William T. Richardson, Jr., the fund’s unpaid president and chief executive officer. “The generosity of people and corporations will be long remembered as the projects they have supported take shape and serve the communities for many years.”


Governor Barbour thanked the fund’s board members and officers for their volunteer service. “I genuinely appreciate the outstanding work of Board Chairman Richard Hickson of Jackson and Board Members Royce Cumbest of Pascagoula, Peyton Self of Marks, Chevis Swetman of Biloxi, and Ray Wesson of Gulfport; and officers William T. Richardson, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer; J. Paul Varner, Secretary; and Mike Summerford, Treasurer.”


The fund has selected the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to provide leadership in administering the projects. The foundation is governed by a board of directors whose membership is drawn from leaders in a variety of Coast businesses, organizations and activities.