Local Oxford restaurateur and resident Chef John Currence announced the formation of a non-profit foundation aimed at inspiring and funding educational initiatives for Mississippi youth, specifically in the areas of health, well-being, nutrition, and physical activity.
“Move on Up Foundation was created because as the nation’s leading state in the ongoing and growing obesity epidemic, we believe that targeting youth and providing the tools and education to understand that they can help stem the onset of this condition is paramount in the struggle to change their future. The foundation will work with local, municipal, and state agencies to help implement programming to help children grow to a healthier future in Mississippi,” Currence says.
The foundation’s core leadership team includes Chef John Currence, Chef Kelly English, Dr. Mac Nichols, Dr. Dan Jones, Lisa Howorth, Jay Hughes, Robyn Tannehill, and Ross Bjork. This team will soon expand to include leaders in other disciplines. “Wrestling with bureaucracy and trying to change the way some very dug-in people look at education will be an immense challenge,” Currence adds. “So we have tried to assemble some of the best minds and spirited hearts we can to help initialize our efforts. I am extremely flattered these folks have signed on to be part of this effort.”
“If we can help just one child commit to living a healthy lifestyle through our efforts in this foundation, we will have accomplished something great. Mississippi has provided me with a wonderful opportunity in my career and I could not be more proud of what my team has built in Oxford. We have always believed in giving back to our community comes along with success, now we want to take greater strides and help the entire state move forward into a happier, healthier, and more prosperous future. I am sick and tired of being at the bottom of every list that is published. We deserve better, but it is going to take work to crawl out of the place we are in. That is what we want to be part of helping inspire. It’s time to Move On Up,” Currence continues.
The Move on Up Foundation will host its inaugural fundraising event sometime in early 2016. The weekend long fundraiser will feature multiple events. A Friday night welcome reception will be followed Saturday morning with a 5K Freeze-Your-Butt-Off-For-Fitness fun run. Saturday afternoon a program with a nationally known speaker will precede renowned chefs from around the country cooking dinner parties at private homes in Oxford. The intimate dinners will each seat no more than 12 guests, and will feature menu items inspired by each chef’s respective restaurant. Following the private dinners, there will be a ticketed after-hours reception with cocktails, desserts, and live music for up to 200 guests.
“Fundraisers are a peculiar beast,” notes Currence. “They frequently target only a certain stripe of the population. This is a universal charity we are trying to organize. We want to lay the foundation for a better Mississippi for our children. It is something that everyone should be able to participate in, so we are organizing multiple events that folks can build a weekend however they like in this beautiful town and give something to help the children of our state.”