We invite you to read a few stories and highlights from the past 30 years. While these stories provide a window into our history, they only represent a fraction of the work of our community partners, donors, and friends. Thank you all for being a part of our journey.



The Shackelfords

Making Community the Beneficiary

John Shackelford made his fortune in trees and lumber. So perhaps it’s fitting that, when he and his wife created a plan to leave a legacy, it included the Community Foundation for Mississippi. That’s because, since 1994, we have served as a place to grow philanthropy to build stronger communities. John and Lucy had deep roots in Mississippi and understood CFM’s role as a place to make the impact of their gift spread, branch out, and ultimately, inspire others to create legacies themselves.

A native of tiny Eden, Mississippi, John F. Shackelford grew up in another time and another place. He met and courted Lucy by visiting Jackson, the “big city,” to window shop and dream along Capitol Street. And though they retired to another state, their affection for Jackson never waned. After Lucy’s death in 2015, the Community Foundation received a bequest — half of their remaining estate — valued at $8.8 million. That’s a lot of trees. But more important was the example of making the community their beneficiary.

“This was an incredible, game-changing gift that clearly shows people can impact their communities long after they are gone,” says Jon C. Turner, board chair of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. “We hope this gift will inspire others across the state to consider leaving a legacy that will benefit the communities they loved in a very tangible way.”

Learn more about the grantees of the fund here.