Children First Foundation, Inc. (CFF) hosted The Jere Beasley Evening for Children at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa in Montgomery on last week. The event was designed to help the Foundation raise the funds necessary to advocate for the state’s children on the legislative level. CFF felt that by celebrating the philanthropic work done by Mr. Bealsey, one who has given much to the less fortunate of the state, especially its children, could raise needed funds and educate the audience about the importance of action on the legislative level for children and their families, said a Foundation spokesperson.
The event raised nearly $100,000 dollars. This figure is in a large part a testament to the respect and admiration felt by so many towards Jere Bealsey and his charitable work, said Wayne McMahan. The speakers for the evening included Rev. Lester Spencer, Rev. John Ed Matheson, Lewis Gillis, McMahan, and Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb. It was emceed by Alva Lambert and presentation were made by Children First Foundation’s Chairman, Wendy Brooks Crew and its Vice-Chairman, Judge Aubrey Ford.
Beasley feels that the work performed by Children First Foundation through its advocacy in the state legislature is of vital importance according to Judge Ford.. In 1999, Children First Foundation successfully secured the Children First Trust Fund (CFTF). This fund comes from the tobacco settlement dollars Alabama receives. Each year, Children First Foundation lobbies the legislature for the CFTF appropriation. It is important to note that CFF does not receive a penny of the Children First Trust Fund monies. The entire fund goes to children and families of this state.
In addition to securing the Children First Trust Fund, the Foundation works to identify and draft other pieces of legislation that advocate for vital changes needed for the children of Alabama. For example, CFF worked tirelessly with the Administrative Office of Courts to support the passage of the reorganized Juvenile Code for Alabama.
The passage of this bill insures that children who have not committed crimes do not wind up in the Department of Youth Services; rather community based intervention programs will be used to intervene in their lives so they make better decisions in the future.
“We sincerely appreciate the generosity of Mr. Beasley and his firm as they have helped us raise these funds,” stated Christy Mehaffey, CFF Executive Director, “Without people like him and other generous donors, our work would not be possible.