TUPELO — The generosity and public-spiritedness of Tallahatchie County natives Ed and Becky Meek were highlighted Thursday, Nov. 4, during the CREATE Foundation's annual meeting at the BancorpSouth Conference Center.
The couple, who live in Oxford, were 2021 recipients of the foundation's prestigious McLean Award for Philanthropy.
That award is given each year to individuals, families or organizations in recognition of "the extraordinary leadership of people working to improve the quality of life in their communities and in the northeast Mississippi region."
The award is named for George and Anna Keirsey McLean, founders of CREATE, northeast Mississippi's community foundation.
CREATE Chairman Bryan Wilson announced the Meeks and presented the award.
The Meeks were honored for their contributions to many charitable causes throughout the area, including awarding dozens of enterprise grants and scholarships for education to students from eastern Tallahatchie County through the Charleston-based Ed & Becky Meek Foundation.
They also have provided significant support and funding in the form of grants and scholarships to Blue Mountain College, Mississippi College and the University of Mississippi.
Other noted recipients of the Meeks' benevolence have been the Boy Scouts of America, Campus Crusade for Christ, Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort, Charleston High School, First Baptist Church of Charleston, Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow, Mayo Clinic, Oxford School District, Oxford University Methodist Church and the Wesley Foundation.
Meek, a native of Charleston, said he and his wife, a native of Paynes, came from families of meager means but have tried to make a difference back home through support of CARE and other such initiatives.
"We hope to be able to fund programs to help CARE do what CREATE has done for northeast Mississippi," Meek noted.
Meek said the couple are "most grateful for the opportunity to provide and we're grateful for the recognition from CREATE, which we have admired for so long."
The CREATE Foundation, Mississippi's oldest and largest community foundation, serves 17 counties in northeast Mississippi, including Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union.
CREATE strives to improve the quality of life for the area through building permanent community endowment assets; encouraging philanthropy and managing charitable funds contributed by individuals, families, organizations and corporations; strengthening regional community development capacity; and providing leadership on key community issues.
As of Dec. 30, 2020, CREATE had net assets of $146.1 million.