3Q's: Mike Clayborne, CREATE Foundation president

By NEMS Daily Journal

On Saturday, May 28, Northeast Mississippi media companies, including Daily Journal parent company Journal Inc., came together to sponsor a two-hour televised tornado relief fundraising event at The Mall at Barnes Crossing. The event exceeded its $50,000 goal and a new goal was set to reach $100,000 by June 30. The CREATE Foundation is receiving and administering the funds collected. CREATE President Mike Clayborne answered these questions from the Daily Journal.
Q: To what do you attribute the success of the initial tornado relief fundraising event, and did the response surprise you?
A: I think the success of the event is attributable to the incredible generosity and compassion of the people of Northeast Mississippi. It is also attributable to the “Northeast Mississippi spirit” of the major media companies putting aside competition to work together to hold and promote the event. This level of cooperation is uncommon around the country. Special credit goes to WTVA/WLOV/WKDH for the tremendous amount of effort in staffing and coordinating the activities. Journal Inc., Tupelo Radio Broadcasting and Mississippi Radio Group were important partners. The Mall at Barnes Crossing generously provided the location. We had an overwhelming response by raising more than $53,000 in only two hours.
Q: How will CREATE determine where and to whom to distribute the money raised?
A: We allowed donors to stipulate the communities where they wanted their money to go as well as to the organizations involved in the relief efforts. Honoring donor intent will be our first priority. The relief efforts vary depending on the county and the needs that exist. Clearly the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army are two primary groups providing assistance across the region. In Monroe County, the United Way of Monroe County is also a significant player in those efforts. The funds will be channeled through reliable charitable organizations meeting local needs. We will be seeking the advice of local officials, and organizations that have been actively involved in the recovery such as the Gilmore Foundation and Three Rivers Planning and Development District. I think it is important to recognize that this recovery is not going to occur overnight. So while we want to be sure and meet current needs, we need to understand that new and different issues are going to surface as time moves forward. Patience and more resources are going to be required.
Q: Now that the goal has been raised to $100,000, how will the fundraising proceed and how can people contribute?
A: The media partners will continue to inform the public of the ongoing campaign. People can contribute by either mailing a check to the CREATE Foundation, P.O. Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802 or by going online to www.createfoundation.com. Donors should indicate the gift is for Tornado Relief and may designate which community and/or organization to which they wish to have their contribution support.

Click video to hear audio