The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi recently announced it will hold its 21st annual Crystal Ball Gala virtually.

The event will be held on Jan. 16.

Organizers said that while this is the foundation’s first virtual gala, due to COVID-19 precautions, it will still be “full of surprises and showcase the charitable works of the northwest Mississippi region.”

“The Crystal Ball supports the philanthropic work of the Community Foundation,” said Keith Fulcher, president of the foundation. “Revenue from the ball allows us to carry out our mission of ‘Connecting People Who Care With Causes That Matter.’ I invite everyone to join in supporting the world premiere of our first-ever virtual Crystal Ball.”

At the event, the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi will recognize the 2020 Community Stars and outstanding volunteers who have shown community spirit.

Categories to be honored include the Dan Maddox Man of the Year, the Margaret Maddox Woman of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year and Business of the Year. Nominations are open in the 11 counties served by the Community Foundation, which include Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Marshall, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tate, Tallahatchie and Tunica counties.

“We are deeply saddened that we will not be able to gather in person in 2021,” said co-chairs Michael and Elizabeth Bellipanni in a press release. “However, along with every challenge lies opportunity. We are honored with the opportunity to host the 21st annual Crystal Ball in a new and innovative way. This virtual celebration is an opportunity for you to show your support for the good works of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi with your sponsorship and participation.”

The 2020 Crystal Ball generated $195,000 in cash sponsorships, said Stacye Trout, the foundation’s development director.

“Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and volunteers, the Community Foundation was able to focus on the FEED Northwest Mississippi Fund and providing $450,000 in grants to food pantries and nonprofits supporting the educational needs of children,” she said.

To make a nomination, go to for the Community Star Award application. Past recipients representing outstanding service organizations, businesses and individuals making a difference in their community are also listed on the website. Send all nominations to or mail to: Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, 315 Losher Street, Suite 100, Hernando, MS, 38632. Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. on Oct. 15.

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