Aug 30 2017

The Community Foundation of South Alabama (CFSA) has been awarded $50,000 for the implementation of Empowering Change: Strengthening Our Community Connections.  This opportunity was brought to CFSA by Newman’s Own Foundation. CFSA has partnered with the University of South Alabama (USA) on this initiative.

The Empowering Change pilot program was designed and developed at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut, as a program of Newman’s Own Foundation, in honor of Paul Newman’s legacy to encourage all to overcome obstacles and achieve their potential.  On USA’s campus and the Mobile County community, a generational and racial divide exists impacting who has privilege and power which often hinders community trust. Empowering Change seeks to empower students on campus and citizens in the local community to build inclusion, trust and affect meaningful change.

“From empowering citizens to make a difference through philanthropy, to convening people and harnessing resources, The Community Foundation of South Alabama has a concentrated focus on working toward a goal for long-lasting, far-reaching community inclusion and impact,” said Rebecca Byrne, President & CEO of CFSA. “The encouragement and support that we received from Newman’s Own Foundation, along with our strong partnership and commitment from USA is the impetus behind the initiative.  Empowering Change seeks to overcome social divisions by building bridges between groups, embracing existing diversity and increasing inclusiveness in our community.”

By determining a theme of inclusion that encompasses ways to overcome social divisions, CFSA and USA can begin the process of bridging the gaps and building connections. A group comprised of community leaders and working committees has defined inclusion as: the intentional, ongoing act of creating environments in which any individual or group is welcomed, supported, valued, and empowered to interact with people, systems and institutions.

Programming for Empowering Change kicks off mid-September, 2017. The initial events will consist of a community service day, “Serve Fest,” on September 15th, a community family day at the USA v. Alabama A&M football game on September 16th, and workshops for students from the local high schools to have the opportunity to learn and share their own thoughts and feelings about inclusion on September 18th. On September 25th, the Empowering Change panel and dinner will feature keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien, a highly esteemed broadcast journalist with national recognition, to construct a conversation on how individuals in Mobile can be more inclusive. All events are free and open to the public. More information for these events can be found on the Empowering Change website,

The $50,000 award from Newman’s Own Foundation made the Empowering Change initiative possible in Mobile, Alabama. Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own food and beverage products into charitable donations. To date, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $495 million to thousands of charities around the world.

For more information on Empowering Change, contact Jena Berson, Director of Community Initiatives at CFSA at: or 251-445-6295.

About The Community Foundation of South Alabama

The Community Foundation of South Alabama is a nonprofit charitable organization that plays a key role in meeting the needs of an eight-county region through leadership and grants. The Foundation serves as a vessel for donors, volunteers, and the community to share ideas, identify issues, and build financial resources necessary to make improvements and positively impact the community. The Foundation administers a collection of charitable funds established by members of the community. Since its founding in 1976, the Foundation has awarded more than $75 million in grants to nonprofit organizations to support programs that make life better in the community. The Community Foundation builds lasting endowments to ensure grants are available to support the community forever.