Create a better tomorrow, make a difference today

Our History.

wpIn 1962, Virginia Naeve, a woman from New Hampshire with an uncommon amount of drive, went to the 17 nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. On the airplane, she met Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., also on her way to serve as a delegate to the conference. Although Virginia’s primary plan at this conference was to speak with U.Thant, head of the United Nations, her talk with Coretta Scott King on the airplane proved more lasting. They spoke of conditions in Mississippi and what might be done to help families in the Mississippi Delta, one of the worst areas of rural poverty in America. Mrs. King gave Virginia the name of a specific family she knew needed help.
Virginia returned home and began writing letters and sending boxes of clothing, food, and supplies that the family desperately needed. Soon neighbors heard of her actions and were giving her boxes to send to Mississippi, too. Other families in poverty were added to the mailing list. Things kept growing until Virginia got the simple idea of MATCHING UP SPONSOR FAMILIES DIRECTLY with families in poverty, and The Box Project was born. It has since grown from Virginia’s friends piling up boxes in her living room to a membership that has directly helped more than 15,000 recipient families since 1962.
Incorporated in 1968 and receiving their 501(c)(3) in 1969, The Box Project headquarters was located in Connecticut for many years before moving to Florida in 2004. The Box Project hired its first Executive Director in 1973 and had its first major growth spurt following an article in Women’s Day magazine. Because of our unique structure and effective work, we have received endorsements by national media personalities and outlets including Oprah Winfrey on TV, Mike Gallagher’s national radio show, NPR’s World Vision radio show, and in Parade, Child, Nick Jr., Family Fun, Parent and Redbook magazines to name a few, in addition to many other appearances on television and in the news.
While the numbers and activity level of members ebbs and flows with the changes in the social and political climate, the overall organization was stable for decades. The Box Project provided much needed help and support to thousands of families even during periods when rural poverty and politics were not in the American headlines.
The “Great Recession” in the late 2000s forced The Box Project Board of Directors and Staff to make the tough decision to dissolve The Box Project, Inc and its 501(c)(3).  After researching many options to keep The Box Project work going, the board of directors agreed to a partnership with the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. It transferred its work to the Community Foundation whose mission is to “Connect People Who Care With Causes That Matter” and which serves the Mississippi Delta region. Fall of 2009 The Box Project became a program or the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.  The Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3), is committed to continue the rich heritage of The Box Project and its mission to help those living in rural poverty.
The Box Project continues to provide much needed support to many families.  As a testament to the success of The Box Project, we have moving stories from sponsor and recipients that were matched over 35 years ago.  Although the recipient family has broken the cycle of poverty and no longer needs material aid, the friendship remains strong.  Join us and change a life today.

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