Senior bill renews lease

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Recently, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill renewing the lease for the Mississippi Federation of Women’s Club Headquarters located in Jackson, Miss. Darlene Adams, executive director at the Senior Center of South Pearl River County, spearheaded the move to preserve the future of the organization.

When Adams took office as MFWC’s state president in June of last year, she learned from past board members that the headquarters lease would end in November of 2015.

“Immediately we made plans to host a reception at our headquarters so legislators would know what our organization has done and more importantly still doing,” Adams said.

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The MFWC is part of the General Federation of Women’s Club, which is an international women’s club dedicated to improving the community through volunteer services, according to GFWC’s website.

For the past 80 years, the Mississippi Legislature has leased the headquarters building to MFWC. In return, the organization has paid the in-kind lease payments of $500 per month with their reported volunteer hours, Adams said.

Since the building’s establishment in 1935, the organization has hosted numerous functions, including club meetings, receptions and executive board meetings, Adams said.

In order to keep the building running, House Bill 828, written by District 62 State Sen. Tom Weathersby, R, was presented to the Mississippi House and passed unanimously. The bill calls to extend the headquarters’ lease for 15 years as well as an option to renew the lease for an additional 15 years, according to HB 828.

Adams said the organization’s toughest battle was seeking approval from the Mississippi Senate. In order to do so, she personally reached out to Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

“I made an appeal as to why the headquarters is a living monument to women’s history and service in the state of Mississippi,” Adams said.

Several opponents of the bill deemed the organization a garden club to which Adams replied, “What’s wrong with garden clubs? They educate and help beautify Mississippi.”

Adams, along with club members, called, emailed and sent letters to state senators educating them on MFWC and encouraging them to pass the bill.

The Mississippi Senate recently passed the bill and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed it into law during the 2015 regular session.

Adams said she’s thrilled they were able to secure a 30-year lease during her watch as state president. She said the organization plans to continue to operate from the headquarters and serve the community.