Diversity and Community Engagement

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘LOFT’

Community Chats – Night for Nonprofits

Posted on: August 21st, 2020 by elpayseu

In this extra special installment of Community Chats, we are joined by Jody Holland of the Lafayette-Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT) and 14 other nonprofit leaders from around the community. Each guest is able to share what some of their most pressing needs are at the moment and how they have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is all in partnership with LOFT’s Night for Nonprofits, an event hosted each year to raise funds for the great work being done by all the nonprofits in the LOU community.

Each year, LOFT provides thousands of dollars in grants to local nonprofits in our community, and the Night for Nonprofits is an annual event intended not only to raise money but to foster relationships and networks between the nonprofit organizations and the community. Typically held in the Powerhouse, the event this year has become a virtual, week-long series of promoting the good work of LOU nonprofits. Each nonprofit has published a short video which you can view on LOFT’s website. Each view on a video is counted as a “vote,” and by the end of the series, the video with the most views will receive a $1,000 grant from LOFT. Jody encourages viewers to share this information, encourage your networks to view these videos, and support the organizations you want to see win.

Among the discussion, many leaders talk about the financial hardships that have come in this time. Even though many nonprofits are always looking for more funding, the COVID-19 pandemic has especially taken a toll. Other areas of need include supplies. For example, Denise Strub from the North Mississippi Exchange Family Center talks about the need for diapers and activities for the children of young mothers who may not be able to be home all day because of school or work. Yolanda Wooten of the LINK program through Canopy Children’s Solutions stresses the need for exposure. As a new program, they were in development right as the pandemic hit and were unable to market the program the way they intended to. The needs of these organizations go on, so Jody encourages everyone who is watching or listening to help alleviate these needs if they are able.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly exacerbated needs and hardships, it has also created a lot of new opportunities for many organizations. For example, Matt Wymer with the Oxford Film Festival talks about how they are now able to offer programming throughout the year instead of just one week in March. They were able to open a drive-in theater for people to come and be entertained from the safety of their cars and not have to worry about being exposed. The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has been able to invest in technology that they used to produce their Stay at Home Fest, an initiative picked up by other arts councils across north Mississippi. Tune in to hear more about these special opportunities and how you can get involved and support all of the nonprofit organizations here in the LOU community.

Our guests include:

Community Chat: Jody Holland (LOFT)

Posted on: August 5th, 2020 by elpayseu

“There’s this nonprofit sector out there that’s really caring and giving, and they’re making a difference.” -Jody Holland

On this episode of Community Chats, Erin talks with Jody Holland, executive director of the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow (LOFT). With their annual Night for Nonprofits fundraiser coming up this month, Jody discusses the great work being done by LOFT partners across the community. Tune in for more information about LOFT’s Night for Nonprofits and how you can get involved and help local nonprofits improve the quality of life in the LOU community.

Born and raised in Mississippi, Jody attended Delta State University for his undergraduate degree and then went to Mississippi State University to obtain his PhD. He ended up in Oxford as a visiting professor in the Department of Public Policy Leadership and was won over by the LOU community’s welcoming atmosphere. He ended up going through Leadership Lafayette and discovered a job opening within LOFT thanks to his connections made there. As executive director, Jody works hand in hand with LOFT’s board of directors to plan programming and write grants for local nonprofit partners. “I facilitate this organization because my board’s so awesome,” Jody says. He credits the board of directors and local partners for the success of the foundation.

LOFT is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the LOU community by partnering with local nonprofit organizations to provide funding and networking opportunities. Through their work, LOFT gives out upwards of $50,000 to local organizations and raises awareness for the work of these organizations through events like their Night for Nonprofits. The Night for Nonprofits is an annual fundraiser that highlights the good work of local nonprofits and allows the community to donate to them. “We raise money to try to give them, but they do the work in this community,” says Jody. While it is usually held at the Powerhouse, the fundraiser this year will be held virtually on August 13 at 6 p.m., and each nonprofit will record a 90-second video to highlight their work and their needs. Tune in to learn more about what those specific needs are and how you can help.

You can learn more about LOFT on their website loftms.org or by watching the first installment of Community Chats. You can also watch or listen to this episode on Facebook, Youtube, or your favorite podcast platform.


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