Qatar ambassador gives $5 million to Pass Christian club

Published 9:11 pm Friday, February 16, 2007

Qatar’s ambassador to the United States presented $5 million Wednesday to the Pass Christian Boys and Girls Clubs, allowing them to build a new center to replace the one that was demolished by Hurricane Katrina.

“We know that the true legacy of the gift will last generations,” said Qatar Ambassador H.E. Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. “Our intention was to meet emergency needs and express friendship and compassion.”

Pass Christian was under 30 feet of water during the Aug. 29, 2005 storm, which destroyed 80 percent of the city.

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Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott presented the ambassador with a key to the city. Afterward Ambassador Al-Khalifa toured the site behind the church where the new center will be built.

The money presented to the club is part of the Qatar Katrina Fund and is included in a $100 million gift to those affected by Katrina in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The funds from Qatar will build a center that will be used community-wide and is scheduled for completion by October of 2008. The new project will include a K-8 school, parks, conference and meeting rooms, childhood development programs and more space for the club.

“This gift is truly life-altering because this new building project will serve the entire community, everyone will be able to use the property,” said Sam Burke, director of club development.

The Qatar Katrina Fund was announced in Washington D.C. in September 2005. The ambassador has traveled the areas hit hardest by the storm. Boys and Girls Clubs, March of Dimes Mobile Units, Childrens Hospital in New Orleans and Habitat for Humanity are some of the beneficiaries of the Qatar fund.