When Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze and his wife, Jill, started the Freeze Foundation in 2014, they were inspired by faith and a genuine desire to give back. Now, they are taking what has been a self-funded mission to the next level by hiring Alice Blackmon as the Foundation’s first Executive Director.
“Our mission and our heartbeat are to support orphans and needy children both foreign and domestically,” Blackmon said. “Whether it is a sick child in America or an orphan in Africa, the Freeze Foundation wants to make an impact.”
Blackmon, a third generation Ole Miss graduate, who got her degree in Hospitality Management in 2012, feels like God was at work in the three-year process that led to her new role. A chance meeting with Coach Freeze as an event planner in Memphis eventually developed into an opportunity to return to Oxford to lead the Foundation. Her new role just so happened to begin during a busy time for Coach Freeze — the first week of fall camp back in August.
“I felt that God was calling me to go a little bit deeper in my faith, and step out of my comfort zone,” Blackmon said. “It was a unique time, and knowing that the growing work of this Foundation is his passion off the field, he needed to know someone was going to wake up every day thinking about it and being passionate about it.”
Coach Freeze, along with members of the Ole Miss Football team, has adopted a community in Haiti — Camp Marie — where they have traveled for two straight years over spring break in a joint effort with the organization 410 Bridge to bring clean water to the community. That water system, which was not compromised by Hurricane Matthew, now serves 35,000 people.
An emotional Freeze said in a documentary titled “Living Water” about one of the foundation’s mission trips, “God is good, and to see fresh water flowing into this village is an amazing thing, and the small part we played in it at the Freeze Foundation is huge…you see the joy in their faces when they have a water system, things we take for granted, the simple stuff is unbelievable.”
After doing research, talking to others and studying models of similar nonprofits, such as that of the Tim Tebow Foundation, Blackmon and Freeze are working to take the Foundation’s work to the next level and to further its mission of helping children and people in need both locally and internationally.
“On Day 1, Coach gave me a blank canvas and said here are your painting tools –here’s the paint, the brushes, go run with it,” Blackmon said. “Slowly but surely were figuring it out, and we are excited about what the future holds.”
With the work done in Camp Marie, the Foundation has already been able to make a difference on an international scale, and with an expanded base the Foundation plans to focus right here in Mississippi, specifically in the Mississippi Delta. By partnering with local churches and businesses, the Foundation is looking forward to ultimately bringing like-minded people and organizations together to do good in the world.
“The more that we get out and talk to people, the more we realize this is the passion of an entire community,” Blackmon said. “What we can accomplish through the Foundation on our own is great, but when you involve the community, the sky is the limit.”
To learn more about The Freeze Foundation visit www.freezefoundation.org.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.