CREATE last fall broadened its reach by adding the Lowndes County Community Foundation as an affiliate.
Tupelo-based CREATE was founded 40 years ago to foster community development and philanthropy in an initial 15-county Northeast Mississippi region. Before inviting Lowndes County, the last time it added a member was Oktibbeha County in 2001.
To strengthen its newest partnership, CREATE’s board of directors recently elected Lowndes County community members to five positions within the organization.
Bobby Harper, senior vice president and business development officer at Renasant Bank, was elected to CREATE’s board of directors at its January meeting.
Four Lowndes County business leaders also were elected to serve on the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi:
• Nick Ardillo, former executive director of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.
• Allegra Brigham, former CEO of 4 County Electric Power Association.
• Birney Imes, editor and publisher of the Columbus Dispatch.
• Hilbert Williams, partner at Crye-Leike Realtors.
The commission’s goal is to strengthen the regional per capita income through advancing higher education, accelerating four-lane highway construction, economic diversity and strengthening local communities.
“Lowndes County is one of the most progressive communities in Mississippi,” said Commission Chairman Glenn McCullough Jr. “We are very fortunate to have four extraordinary leaders join our commission.”
Brigham said partnerships like those between CREATE and the Lowndes County Community Foundation are crucial in developing the regional economy.
“When the tide rises, so do all the ships,” Brigham said.
CREATE now has 26 board members representing 14 counties and 53 commission members from 17 counties.