Hope for Children takes ownership of Masonic Home
By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Feb. 7, 2001
The Hope for Children Foundation officially purchased the property commonly known as the "Masonic Home" Tuesday paving the way for the 100-year-old facility to open its doors again to abused and neglected children.
Built in 1907, the Masonic Home's original intent was to provide a home for widows and children. After several years, the Masons restricted the home's use to orphans and children from broken or troubled homes.
In November, award-winning actress Sela Ward, a Lauderdale County native, announced the formation of the Hope for Children Foundation and plans to revitalize the Masonic Home property. Through the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charitable group, the Hope for Children Foundation received a $1.5 million grant from the Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation to buy the property.
Bruce Martin, chairman of the Hope For Children Foundation Executive Committee, said he anticipates that the facility will open by late spring.
Although Ward could not be present at Tuesday's signing, Martin said it was a historic day for Meridian.
The Hope for Children Foundation also received a $100,000 donation Tuesday from the Entertainment Industry Foundation as part of the KFC grant money. The foundation has already received a tremendous amount of financial support including a $300,000 grant from The Riley Foundation and a $20,000 donation from the pop band 'NSync.
Wiggs said a higher power must have played a role in transferring ownership from the Masons to the foundation.
Martin called on local citizens to become involved in the effort.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.