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  • March 2021

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    Alabama Shakespeare Festival Celebrates 35 Years
    Alabama Shakespeare Festival recently celebrated its 35th anniversary in Montgomery. From its founding as a summer theatre festival in Anniston in 1972 to its designation as the State Theater of Alabama in 1977 to the stunning performing arts complex in Montgomery (built in 1985), ASF has been a leader in the performing arts throughout the state, region and country. After several successful seasons in Anniston, ASF found itself facing ever-rising expenses. Philanthropist and businessman Wynton “Red” Blount offered to financially support the company and build a $21.5 million state-of-the-art theater complex for year-round use, if ASF would relocate from Anniston to Montgomery. On December 7, 1985, Alabama Shakespeare Festival opened its doors in Montgomery with its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
     
    Buffalo’s Cafe Set to Open at The Shoppes at EastChase
    Buffalo’s Cafe, a Georgia-based family style restaurant, will open its first location in Alabama at The Shoppes at EastChase this spring. Buffalo’s Cafe is an Atlanta, Georgia-based concept offering fresh buffalo-style chicken wings and sauces in a family-friendly restaurant environment. In addition to its “world-famous” wings, Buffalo’s carries an extensive menu featuring burgers, tacos, salads, build-your-own rice bowls and more. The restaurant makes every menu item from scratch in-house and offers a diverse cocktail menu, happy hour and will even offer live music on select days.
     
    IBM Forms $2 Million Partnership with ASU
    Alabama State University and IBM (International Business Machines) announced a joint educational partnership that includes access to the IBM Skills Academy focused on digital learning and technology skills. Through IBM’s existing academic initiative, the company will make available software and cloud technology estimated in the millions of dollars. Dr. Carl Pettis, ASU’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the partnership is one step closer to closing the diversity gap in STEM by preparing the next generation for the high-tech workforce.
     
    MGM New Urbanist Community Hits Record-Setting Home Sales
    Hampstead, a 416-acre master-planned residential and mixed-use development, had its best sales year ever in 2020. The community announced new and existing home sales were 46 percent higher than 2019, a record-setting year. New home sales alone increased 36 percent year-over-year.
     
    Beasley Allen Announces Mobile Office
    Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. announced a third office, opening January 2021 in Mobile. The Mobile office will be headed by Frank Woodson as Managing Attorney-Mobile. Woodson has been with Beasley Allen since 2001. Before coming to Montgomery, he practiced in Mobile for 17 years.
     
    $10,000 Donation Made to Montgomery Area Food Bank
    In an effort to combat hunger in Central Alabama, Four Star Freightliner, Inc. recently matched a generous donation to the Montgomery Area Food Bank from the Kocan Family. Jerry Kocan, Four Star Freightliner Dealer Principal, donated $5,000 to the organization in recognition of his wife Nancy’s birthday. “She requested it as a birthday present,” said Kocan. “My wife is simply the most generous and thoughtful person you would ever meet. She felt others could use the help more than her and heard that the donations and stockpile of food depletes after the holidays, so she wanted to make a difference to those who need it.”
     
    Four Star Freightliner, realizing the impact a monetary donation can make in its community, decided to match the Kocan’s donation. The check was delivered to Richard Deem, CEO of the Montgomery Area Food Bank. He said the $10,000 would provide more than 50,000 meals. “We want people to know that hunger is 365 days a year,” said Deem. “When you’re dealing with a service area of 300,000 food insecure people, it’s an everyday job.”
     
    MAX4Kids Foundation Surpasses $100,000 in Donations to Children’s of Alabama
    The MAX4Kids Foundation recently capped its 20th year of community support with a $10,000 donation to Children’s of Alabama. With this donation, MAX4Kids has given more than $100,000 to Children’s of Alabama since the foundation’s creation in 2001. “Children’s of Alabama is incredibly grateful for nearly two decades of support from MAX4Kids through their annual donation,” said Emily Hornak, Director of Cause Marketing and Corporate Partnerships at Children’s of Alabama. “For an organization to donate more than $100,000 is a remarkable commitment to the community and to the children of Alabama.”
     
    “In addition to serving thousands of children in our communities, Children’s of Alabama has also been there for several of our employees’ children and families during their times of need,” said Sandra Stenger Branch, MAX4Kids Foundation advisor and Chief Talent Officer of MAX Credit Union.
     
    Trustmark Launches “Sleigh Hunger” Campaign
    During the holiday season last year, Trustmark partnered with 69 organizations throughout its footprint in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas to support local hunger relief efforts that have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. During its “Sleigh Hunger” campaign, the company contributed more than $250,000 to assist relief organizations in their mission to feed families during the holiday season. The “campaign” included funding gifts to two community food banks and pantries in the River Region, the Montgomery Area Food Bank and the Autauga Interfaith Care Center in Prattville.
     
    Truck Sales Manager Donates Bikes
    While David Turner, the New Truck Manager for Four Star Freightliner, Inc., was undergoing chemotherapy treatment, he knew he had to turn his negative situation into a positive one. He and his wife Julie decided they would expand on their annual giving by donating 20 children’s bicycles for each treatment Turner received.
     
    Through a partnership with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, the Turners were able to make the donation to the Heart to Heart organization located in Montgomery. On December 3, the same day the bike donation was made, Turner learned that his cancer was in remission.

    Future Fuel International Makes Multiple Donations
    As 2020 closed out, Montgomery-based Future Fuel International, LLC, proved its commitment to philanthropy, using its resources and making donations to help others. On October 30, 2020, the mobile on-demand fuel delivery company provided fuel services to Selma in the wake of Hurricane Zeta. The city was left with only one operating fueling station for the entire community as a result of damage. Billy Johnson Jr., Owner and CEO of Future Fuel International, realized the immediate need for assistance. In November, the company launched a fundraising campaign for the Joy to Life Foundation, a local nonprofit promoting breast cancer awareness and providing screenings to un - and under-insured women. In December, Future Fuel International participated in WSFA’s 12 Days of Giving by making a donation to the Montgomery Area Food Bank.
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