I sat next to Edie Jackson at a meeting recently. She said something that really made me and the other folks at the meeting pause to give thought to her comment.
I don’t remember exactly how she said it, but the gist of it was that the Poarch Creeks do everything with the thought of sustaining (or benefitting) the next seven generations. That’s a mind-boggling thought. And, at the meeting, we came back to Edie’s comment several times.
It was significant for a couple of reasons.
One is just because it’s an incredible thought. Most of us talk about our kids or our grandkids, not thinking much beyond the two generations coming after us.
The second reason Edie’s comment had such bearing is that we were in a meeting that could impact Atmore for seven – and more – generations.
This was a meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Atmore Community Fund, an affiliate fund at the Community Foundation of South Alabama.
A mouthful, right? And what the heck is that, anyway? And what does it have to do with seven generations and beyond? And what does it have to do with Atmore?
Don’t think “donation.” Don’t think short-term “fund-raiser” for an event. Don’t think “temporary.”
Think “contribution.” Think “investment.” Think “generations.” And, think “Atmore.”
The Community Foundation of South Alabama
The CFSA is a nonprofit charitable organization that “serves as a vessel for donors, volunteers, and the community to share ideas, identify issues and build financial resources necessary to make improvements and positively impact the community.”
Simply, think of it as a clearinghouse. Individuals, businesses, organizations, agencies, etc. make contributions to the Foundation, which manages the funds, and awards funds to nonprofits organizations to make life better in Southwest Alabama.
The Atmore Community Fund
As an affiliate of the Community Foundation of South Alabama, the Atmore Community Fund serves the same purpose here. The ACF serves as a vehicle to receives contributions and bequests to benefit the community in perpetuity.
The CFSA handles administration, investment and required daily tasks.
An affiliate can be established with a minimum of $25,000 “field of interest” fund. The Advisory Committee considers requests and makes recommendations about how the charitable dollars are spent. The Foundation bears the legal responsibility to ensure that the funds are used in compliance with donor intent.
If you contribute to the fund, you may designate how you want your contribution used, such as funding a scholarship. Or you may contribute to the fund to be used in the best interest of the town, as requests are considered by the committee.
Members of the Atmore Advisory Committee are Edie Jackson, Chairman; Audrey Moon, Vice-Chair; Foster Kizer, Secretary; Dale Ash; Sherry Digmon; Sheilo Faircloth; Ann Gordon; Bub Gideons; Bob Jones; Susan Smith; and Chris Walker.
Due to pledges and contributions that have already been made, the fund is at about $17,000.
The first meeting was held in December and garnered interest from individuals in the community who were willing to share the vision of such a fund in Atmore, to serve on the committee, and those willing to make the first contributions. A second meeting was held in December. A third meeting, an orientation meeting was held Friday, February 24.
This is an ongoing process – not a one-time project. The Atmore Community Fund is the future of Atmore. We’ll publish more information about the Fund as the process continues.
About the Seven Generations
Having heard Edie speak of the Seven Generations, imagine my surprise when I encountered the term the next day when reading an article about the U.S. government (President Grant), the Lakota Tribe, and a dispute over territory (the Black Hills in particular). The Lakota Tribe would enter an agreement “if the government paid enough to sustain their people for seven generations to come.” (Smithsonian, November 2016)
I Googled Native Americans Seven Generations and was surprised to see so many websites relating to the subject.
This principle is the underlying foundation for all decisions Native Americans make.
Imagine if all of us adopted this principle, this belief – thinking about the next seven generations, thinking about Atmore seven generations from now.