The Back Bay Mission: Changing Lives in the Southeast

by Mary Ruth

Dear Fellow UCC Southeast Conference members and friends,

Your life of caring and service, and your generous spirit inspire this request letter.

The Back Bay Mission insert is featured in South MS Living’s July issue. Click on the image to read the magazine online.

I am serving on the Back Bay Mission (BBM) Board of Directors for a 2016-2019 term and take seriously my responsibility to not only share with others the great work being accomplished at BBM for the marginalized people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but also attract donations that support the work of strengthening neighborhoods, seeking justice and transforming lives.  The current BBM programs and staff are excellent; I am impressed with their day to day work and their attention to sustainability goals for persons who can and want to lift themselves out of poverty.  This is a vibrant organization with top notch leadership and excellent board attendance at meetings from people all over the country such as MS, NC, CT, GA, TX, OH, MO, TN and IL.  And, I like to note, our CEO, Rev. Dr. Alice Graham, is totally committed to the cause yet is not being paid hundreds of thousands in salary like some other major national helping organizations.

Officers of the Board for 2018-19 include:

  • President, Matt Williams, MS Attorney
  • Vice President, UCC Rev Jasmine Quinerly, TX Realtor
  • Secretary, Crystal Allen, OH Social Worker
  • Treasurer, Brent Johnson, MS Banker

Back Bay Mission traces its history to the 1920s, when members of Biloxi’s First Evangelical Lutheran Church responded to needs of poor fisher folk on the Back Bay. In 1957 Back Bay Mission became affiliated with the United Church of Christ and continues to have strong relationships and support from UCC churches and UCC members. In 2015 Back Bay Mission became its own 501(c)3 when asked by the national UCC to do so. This change in status relieves the national UCC from legal liabilities and opens new opportunities for BBM in submitting grant applications for sustainability programs and expanding its outreach for participation and support.

The annual budget for Back Bay Mission is about 1.5 million… some of that is grant money but individual donors and church giving are integral to the survival of this organization that wants to pay staff to actually help lift people out of poverty, not just provide emergency assistance. Our BBM fund raising staff works hard in the Gulf Coast area to have events that support the cause. Just recently Back Bay Mission participated in the Birdies for Charity Fundraiser and managed to raise an additional $2,500 for placing THIRD in the top charities. For more information click here.

BBM Board members like me are putting on shrimp boils, raising awareness and funds, and bringing work camps to Biloxi. Board members are also finding people who will give $500 or more to Back Bay Mission to strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice and transform lives. Back Bay Mission has a good number of $50 per year givers but lacks a sufficient number of ‘next level’ donors; I hope you will be one of those ‘$500 or more’ donors this year. In 2017 several Pleasant Hill Community Church members responded affirmatively to my $500 request and, this year, I am asking you to join me in contributing at least $500 to Back Bay Mission in 2018.

Please consider choosing Back Bay Mission as one of your church related charities to support in 2018. You can give online at thebackbaymission.org/give  or you may write a check to Back Bay Mission and give it to me or mail it to:

Back Bay Mission
PO Box 288
Biloxi MS 39533

I sincerely hope you will prayerfully consider contributing at the $500 level or more to Back Bay Mission in 2018; your support will truly make a difference. Let me know If you have any questions; I would be pleased to find/share answers.

Blessings,

Mary Ruth, Back Bay Mission Board Member
Pleasant Hill Community Church, Pleasant Hill TN