Conference makes collaboration essential in combating state's pr - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Conference makes collaboration essential in combating state's problems

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

They represent some of the most notable organizations in Mississippi and Monday morning they came together with a mission.

"You have the state's complete mission based sector. You have the center for non-profits, you have funders, you have volunteer organizations," said Liz Brister, manager of the Low Income Initiative with Entergy Corporation. "We really feel like bringing groups together and working together is one of the ways that we can start to advance our state."

That hopeful advancement comes as groups like Volunteer Mississippi and Mississippi's Poverty Fighting Network begin to work on new strategies in combating some of the state's ongoing problems like poverty and lingering educational disparities.

"We all have worked in our own separate little enclaves for a number of years and the realization is it hasn't worked," said CEO of the Phil Hardin Foundation, Rebecca Combs-Dulaney.

The move now is to create an effort much larger than any individual group by making sure resources for any given project are used to the maximum benefit and by including as many organizations as possible.

Mallery says, "It's not necessarily something where we're trying to identify one particular issue and say this is what we're tackling. What we're trying to build is a culture of collaboration," said Executive Director of Volunteer Mississippi, David Mallery.

"Large scale change doesn't happen alone. You have to get together, you've got to share resources and you have to share ideas," said Brister.

Leaders say the biggest challenge in making any of it happen is the fact that Mississippi is such a rural state. That makes it harder to centralize and identify where the problems are and how to best form a plan of action. However, that's not stopping plans of action from forming which have proven to create change in the past.

"By working together, we're years ahead of where we used to be and where we can go," said Brister.

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