ELLISVILLE- For the last four years, Jones College’s Day of Giving event has surpassed goals but this year’s generous friends and alumni of the two-year college have exceeded expectations four-fold from previous years. In 2019, $28,000 was raised and in 2021, $71,000 was pledged. Last year’s total of $108, 325.66 was unbelievable and this year’s total of $652,616.48 has the JCJC Alumni & Foundation Office almost speechless.
“The Jones College Foundation cannot express in words the gratitude and appreciation for the dedication and commitment of the unwavering support received on this year’s Day of Giving. The contributions from alumni and friends of the college have created a ripple effect, touching the lives of many in immeasurable ways. It is through this generosity and commitment that the Jones College Foundation achieved a remarkable milestone on the National Day of Giving this year,” said Vice President of External Funding, Sabrina Young.
Many of the donations are from alumni like Lorrie Thompson who along with her husband Chris, endowed the Cade Thompson Memorial Scholarship on Tuesday’s Day of Giving. The 1993 JC alumna, Lorrie Thompson, and her husband wanted to continue the legacy of their 18-year-old son Cade who was set to graduate from West Jones High School in 2022. He was already taking classes at Jones when he was involved in a fatal accident on October 20, 2021.
“He would have been proud that we were doing this, that’s what he would have wanted, but he wouldn’t want any recognition. That was not like him. He didn’t want the spotlight on him, but I could see him standing there with a grin on his face, proud,” said Lorrie.
The West Jones football player’s jersey, #56 has been retired in his honor and the couple have also established scholarships for West Jones High School football players and cheerleaders. They hope this scholarship established on Jones College’s Day of Giving will help a student like Cade who was an average student who loved fishing, football and his family.
“We want to keep building on the scholarship, maybe every year in memory of Cade,” said Chris. “To this day, we still get postcards, letters and stuff from people from Florida, Georgia, places all over. People were praying for us from the Philippines. There are just good people out there who still remember us and want to give back too.”
The Thompson’s were not alone in their desire to “pay it forward” on JC’s Day of Giving. Jones College 2023 alumna and current student, Chanel Evans of Hattiesburg announced the establishment of a scholarship in her brother’s memory. She returned to Jones College in 2021 after a 20-year hiatus from academia and pursuing a career in restaurant management. The current Division Field Training Manager/Franchise Development for the Wendy’s Company earned her associate of arts degree in psychology in 2023, but the 38-year-old non-traditional student decided to return for another year to earn an associate of arts in interdisciplinary studies with plans to graduate in May. Evans is simultaneously working on her Bachelor of Arts degree in Diversity and Cultural Awareness from Southern New Hampshire University and has plans to earn another bachelor’s degree from Harvard Extension School or Cornell University. Additionally, she’s earned numerous certifications in human relations and marketing, all because of her brother’s encouragement to finish college.
“Rashad was the kind of person who would literally give you his last and so he did as his parting gift to the world was his essence, he was an organ donor. Because he was so gracious, as one of my greatest supporters, it inspired me. He always wanted me to finish college, so I felt it was incumbent upon me to carry out his legacy by just finishing what I started,” shared Evans. “Also, to be able to pay the blessing forward to someone else (with a scholarship) has to be one of the greatest accomplishments of my time. There were so many times when scholarships were the difference between me progressing through another semester or sitting out.”
Earlier this fall, while also taking classes online, Chanel established the Rashad Evans Memorial Scholarship for nontraditional students at Jones College. She wanted to announce it on the “Day of Giving” as a way to inspire others to support her alma mater.
“Even when I’m not here, his legacy will thrive, and that opportunity will continue to enable others to accomplish their goals. Donors are investing in the leaders of tomorrow, affording them boundless opportunities through their graciousness. Your donation is so much more than monetary. You are investing in our students and the talents of the leaders of tomorrow who will shape the world,” said Evans, who serves as the Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s Honors in Action Director.
Additionally, Jones College students pitched in to support the college by buying bow ties to dress up the bronze bobcat on the C.L. Neill Plaza for the Day of Giving. Phi Theta Kappa President, Kadin Johnston from Waynesboro wanted to give back and pay it forward.
“Jones College has offered me many opportunities for my life because of the Presidential Scholarship I received. Jones has given me a firm foundation, prepared me and it has helped me be a well-developed, well-rounded student. I’m thankful to be at Jones College,” said Johnston.
Joining together as a Jones College community along with the JC family of friends and alumni, helped to secure the non-profit Foundation’s mission of supporting the college as it continues to thrive. The main purpose of this concerted effort is to build awareness of how the Jones College Foundation serves JC students and its communities and to show how easy giving can be for our alumni and friends.
Everything raised by the JCJC Foundation is invested back into the students, faculty, staff, and community in some way. Whether it’s education, professional development, or anything vital in carrying out our mission, the JCJC Foundation offers assistance. The “Day of Giving” is an opportunity for anyone to help Jones College continue to offer excellence in education and inspire another generation to share the vision Jones College established in 1911. Tax-deductible donations can be accepted online at https://www.jcjc.edu/alumni_foundation/giving-support/ or contact the Jones College Alumni and Foundation Office at 601-477-4145 for more information.