Hancock County Community Development Foundation
The Hancock Chamber established the Hancock County Community Development Foundation as a 501 (c) 3 public charity in May 2006 to act as an umbrella organization for 20 non-profit causes for projects with a broad community focus. The specific purposes of incorporation are to sponsor and support educational and community programs that stimulate job creation, foster small business growth, workforce development, historic preservation and the arts.
Programs of the Foundation are:
- Bay St. Louis Heritage Trust – Formed to support preservation efforts within the city’s historic districts. Heritage Trust will develop, promote, and or sponsor programs and/products which will help bring public awareness to the importance of historic preservation.
- Brenda’s House – Raises funds to support operations of this emergency shelter that is owned by Hancock County.
- Business Resource Center – Resources for creating business plans, information on obtaining financing, and referrals for important information to help start up or grow local businesses.
- Excel By 5 – An innovative early childhood program that emphasizes the important roles parents and educators play in the lives of children during their most formative years – birth to age 5.
- Hancock Chamber Beautification – To promote and support beautification projects throughout Hancock County. The program also supports the Bay St. Louis Community Garden and facilitates planting and conservation beds throughout the County.
- Hancock Chamber Education Programs – Focusing on issues affecting educational outcomes in Hancock County, community education, and community college academic programs, this committee oversees scholarships for High School seniors (one per school), teacher and student appreciation events, classroom grants, and more.
- Hancock County Scenic Byways Program – Hancock County’s unique historical and natural assets are recognized as a Mississippi Scenic Byway. 43 miles of byways have been designated to include multiple birding, biking and walking trails and blueways (marked waterway trails). The Chamber manages the website and social media platforms at www.gulfcoastscenicbyways.com.
- Hancock County Sheriff Canine Operations – Formed to support the housing and care of the County’s K-9 unit to support law enforcement activities and to help ensure the safety of deputies and citizens.
- Hancock Leadership – Develops and promotes leadership skills and community awareness for participants in the annual program, working for the betterment of Hancock County.
- Job Generation Fund – This $3 million economic development revitalization program is designed to enhance the recovery of small businesses in Hancock County affected by Hurricane Katrina. Managed by the Chamber for the Foundation, the program has closed 44 low interest / forgivable loans, created or retained 39 jobs and has contributed to the rebuilding of 25 properties countywide. All funds have been allocated.
- Keep Bay St. Louis Beautiful – To promote beautification efforts in Bay Saint Louis.
- Kiln Chamber of Commerce – This program promotes the economic, civic and social well-being of the Kiln area and meets regularly as a membership group, in different locations.
- Legacies and Bequests – Donations can be made in the memory and in honor of loved ones to further community causes.
- Life Grows On – By participating in the Memorial Tree Planting program, a tree is planted within public grounds of Hancock County.
- McDonald Park Fund – Develops enhancements to McDonald Park and other park projects in Hancock County.
- Mind, Body & Spirit – A collaborative community initiative that promotes health and wellness in the Bay St. Louis and Waveland communities, while encouraging the pursuit of teacher education through college scholarships for individuals preparing for a career a K-12 educators.
- Ruth’s Roots – This Court Street garden project is opening up a world of positive activities for the youth as they learn about building, marketing, economics, farm-to-table food preparation, and socializing by spending time with adults.
- Virginia Seal Wagner Beautification Fund – To promote beautification efforts around the county.
- Work Ready Mentor Program – A project of Leadership Hancock County, the program is designed to provide support to high school juniors and seniors entering the workforce.