Crystal Ball Gala

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi announced that it is postponing the 22nd annual Crystal Ball Gala due to COVID.

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi announced that it is postponing the annual Crystal Ball Gala until  further notice due to the drastic rise in COVID cases.

Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi Development director Stacye Trout said it was not an easy decision to make, but they want everyone to stay safe during these difficult times.

 “I’m sure this is a disappointment for a lot of people,” Trout said. “But we are taking people’s health into consideration over a party right now.”

The Crystal Ball Gala was scheduled for January 15 and Trout said they were expecting about 1,400 people to attend. The annual event raises about $200,000 each year which is used to support nonprofit organizations in the region. The foundation gives over $2.5 million in grants each year.

This is the second year in a row that the organization has had to alter its plans. Last year, COVID forced them to hold the 21st annual Crystal Ball virtually rather than the usual black-tie-gala. 

The 22nd annual Crystal Ball was set to honor Erin and Ben Napier as the Stars of Hope recipients given to a famous Mississippian. The couple are the hosts of HGVT’s Home Town based out of Laurel, Mississippi.

The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi was also going to honor four individuals and organizations that have served the community during the year. Dr. Bartholomew Orr, pastor of Brown Missionary Baptist Church was selected as the Dan Maddox Man of the Year. Chelesa Presley of the Diaper Bank of the Delta was chosen as the Margaret Maddox Woman of the Year. The Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, was named Nonprofit of the Year. Sephora in Olive Branch was selected as the Business of the Year.

Trout said they are planning to reschedule the event some time in the spring, and that Erin and Ben have agreed to appear in person again as long as their schedule permits.

“They were planning to be here,” Trout said. “But speaking to their manager, they just couldn’t risk it with the new season coming up and the young children that they have.”

Trout said the organization does not have the ability to check attendee’s vaccination status or testing, or to require everyone to wear a mask.

“So our board just decided it was best to postpone it,” Trout said. “We  are very optimistic to hold this event hopefully in the spring instead of canceling it. Unfortunately, we don’t know what it will look like or when that future date is in the future. We had such a phenomenal turnout of sponsorships and we have a huge waiting list for individual tickets. But we will let everyone know as soon as we know.” 

 

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