The Daily Sentinel directed $5,000 apiece to Nacogdoches HOPE and the Nacogdoches Memorial Foundation to help those organizations continue to serve the community during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

The gifts came via the Carmage and Martha Ann Walls Foundation, which allows publishers at all Southern Newspapers Inc.-owned papers to choose  local nonprofits to receive funds each year.

Carmage Walls founded Southern Newspapers, which now owns 12 community newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma. Martha Ann Walls served as president of the company for most of its history. Their daughter, Lissa Walls, now owns the company, and her parents' legacy of community giving lives on through her and the foundation.

“It is an incredible gift to be able to help our community through these local organizations. This newspaper is a part of the community and is invested in its future and its residents,” Daily Sentinel publisher Rick Craig said.

Nacogdoches HOPE has provided increased food assistance for families affected by the pandemic.

“HOPE has been on the front line of providing food for the many families in Nacogdoches that have been negatively impacted the past few months. We are especially grateful for their work with the East Texas Food Bank to distribute food on a regular basis,” Craig said.

Nacogdoches Memorial Foundation directly supports Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital in its mission to provide health care for the community. Memorial Hospital provides the majority of indigent health care within our county, including for those diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“Memorial Hospital is one of last remaining independent, taxpayer-funded hospitals in East Texas, and is perhaps the largest nonprofit in this part of the state directly impacted by the pandemic,” managing editor Josh Edwards said. “The hospital’s staff works tirelessly to make sure our friends and neighbors get the quality health care that they need.”

Past recipients of the foundation grants distributed through The Daily Sentinel include the NOBLE Scholars program.

This year publishers were asked to consider giving to organizations impacted by COVID-19, which turned out to be an easy task since just about every aspect of our economy has been affected.

Organizations that received grants for 2020 provide shelter, assist family violence victims, relieve food insecurity, offer healthcare and rescue abandoned animals, among other worthwhile endeavors.

In the past 10 years, the foundation has given almost $3 million to the communities Walls-owned newspapers serve, including Galveston, Baytown, Brazoria County, Bay City, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Paris, Del Rio, New Braunfels, Kerrville, Seguin and in Lawton, Oklahoma.

“I’m proud to work for a community-first newspaper company. We are invested in our towns in so many ways including job creation, accountability journalism, marketing to help local businesses reach audiences and more. Walls Foundation grants allow us to have a significant impact on non-profits that enrich our community and the efforts of local volunteers,” Craig said.

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