Mayor: City will help kick off grant drive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith wants Natchez to help kick off a fund-raising drive for a matching grant for the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration.

The celebration, which will hold its 15th annual series of lectures and films in February, received a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant earlier this week. The $100,000 grant must be matched dollar for dollar within three years.

&uot;This would really put that festival on sound financial footing,&uot; Smith said. &uot;Anything like that, I’ll try to get the city behind it.&uot;

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The city should assist with the match in part because of the economic impact the literary celebration has had &045; and will have &045; on Natchez, Smith said.

The challenge grant, one of 27 awarded by the NEH across the country Wednesday, would help the celebration continue in perpetuity, founder and co-chairman Carolyn Vance Smith has said. Interest from the grant and its match would help fund the event into the future.

&uot;This Challenge Grant will go a long way towards ensuring this outstanding program continues to entertain and enlighten future generations,&uot; said Keith Whisenant, director of the Natchez National Historical Park, a co-sponsor. &uot; We need to remember through that the grant requires a match, so we urge everyone who enjoys the Literary and Cinema Celebration to continue their support so that we can take full advantage of the National Endowment for this Humanities grant.&uot;

Fund-raising activities for the matching grant will include a riverbarge cruise on the Mississippi, to take place April 6-13, 2004.