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.



Thalia Mara Hall's Renovation

Friends of Thalia Mara Hall Fund

When the doors of newly renovated Thalia Mara Hall swung open on June 2, 2014, visitors were treated to a striking makeover, breathtaking not only for the aesthetics but also for the speed and efficiency with which it was accomplished. Built in 1968, Thalia Mara Hall is home to Ballet Mississippi, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Opera, and the International Ballet Competition. For decades, it has also been a sought-after venue for concerts, comedy shows, graduations, and Broadway-style plays. But in recent years it has begun showing its age, plagued by HVAC problems, roofing issues, and out-of-date design.

Recognizing the need to rehabilitate the structure before the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, Entergy CEO Haley Fisackerly and a group of private and public sector stakeholders formed Friends of Thalia Mara Hall in early 2013. Their original intent was to form a non-profit organization and raise funds to help pay for the needed renovation. But the group was facing a very tight timeline with construction slated to begin in January 2014. Applying for 501(c)3 status from the IRS can take months, and establishing a new nonprofit can mean significant legal and accounting fees. Learning of their plans, CFGJ President and CEO Jane Alexander contacted Fisackerly and offered a solution — a designated fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. Within days, Friends of Thalia Mara Hall began soliciting donations. CFGJ became the fiscal agent so that the stakeholders could focus exclusively on fundraising.