IP awards $95K in grants to local schools, nonprofits


David Phillips

David Phillips


Andy Boyd

Andy Boyd


Janie Cirlot-New

Janie Cirlot-New



Slim Smith



2017 was a pretty good year for International Paper, which means 2018 was a good year for educational and nonprofit groups in the communities where the company operates in the U.S. and 24 other countries. 


As part of its regular giving program, IP provided $95,000 in grants to Golden Triangle groups in 2018, including a $15,000 grant to celebrate the Columbus Modified Fiber facility's 25th anniversary. 


In 2017, IP's net sales were $22 billion, according to a company press release. 


"As part of the IP family, we are privileged to assist these schools and area non-profits in their efforts to make an impact on the lives of those throughout our communities," said Columbus Mill manager David Phillips. "We offer our heartfelt appreciation to each of these organizations and their volunteers. The ... work you do is critical to the success of our community." 


IP's giving program focuses on needs in four areas: education, hunger, health/wellness and community initiatives. 


Among the 19 local organizations to receive funding in 2018 was the Frank P. Phillips YMCA Army, which used its $5,000 for to sustain and grow its Parkinson's therapy program, including boxing and aquatic programs that have been shown to delay the effects of the disease. 


"It's absolutely huge for us," said YMCA Director Andy Boyd. "The adaptive therapy we provide depends on grants like the one we received from International Paper. We just couldn't do this work without it." 


In Starkville, The T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability at Mississippi State University received $2,000 to support its IMPACT program. 


"IMPACT is a pre-school program for children from birth to 5 years old who have special needs and challenges," said Director Janie Cirlot-New. "In addition to the classes and we do assessments to determine if children are going to need special services." 


Cirlot-New said the IP grant went toward providing specialized motorized equipment and communication devices for children in the program. 


"We rely almost completely on these kinds of soft-money donations," Cirlot-New said. "These grants are what allow us to provide the services we offer." 




A break-down of IP's 2018 grants: 


$22,900 was awarded to family and childhood health and wellness programs. 


■ Boys & Girls Club of the Golden Triangle received funds for it's Healthy Kids Rock! program. 


■ Contact Helpline received funding for the Reassurance Recruitment Program. 


■ East Columbus Lions Club received funds to purchase a Plus Optix Sight Screener for youth screening. 


■ Frank P. Phillips Memorial YMCA received funds to support the Rock Steady Boxing Fighting Back Against Parkinson's program. 


■ Noxubee County Diabetes Coalition received funds to host a Back-to-School Health Fair. 


■ Safe Haven, Inc. received funding to support their Domestic Violence Transition Assistance program. 


■ Sally Kate Winters Family Service received funds to the Children's Advocacy Center. 


■ TK Martin Center for Technology and Disability received funding for their IMPACT program.  






$28,500 was awarded to educational initiatives including literacy programs, art education, STEM programs and classroom technology. 


■ Columbus Arts Council received funds to purchase supplies to support ArtReach! 


■ Columbus Christian Academy received funds to purchase technology to support reading comprehension testing.  


■ Greater Columbus Learning Center received funds to support its Dropout Recovery and Workforce Literacy Program. 


■ Greater Starkville Development Partnership received funds to host its Annual International Paper Innovation Challenge. 


■ Heritage Academy received funds to support their outdoor classroom and Plant to Plate Outdoor Garden program. 


■ Lowndes County Imagination Library received funds to enhance its Reading is a Priceless Skill initiative. 


■ Tenn-Tom Waterway Transportation Museum received funds for its STEM Education program.  






$15,600 was given to support the fight against hunger. 


■ Lowndes County Council on Aging received funds to purchase food for its Home Delivered Meals program for the homebound elderly. 


■ The Salvation Army of Columbus received funds to purchase food for its Holiday Food Pantry. 




Critical Community Needs 


$13,000 was given to support critical community needs throughout the Golden Triangle. 


■ Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity received funds for the construction of its 177 Chisolm Drive project. 


■ United Way of Lowndes County received funds to support its Volunteer Columbus program.


Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]



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