Donation from The Paris News

Major Francko Higdon accepts a $10,000 donation from The Paris News publisher Relan Walker on Thursday. 

The Paris News directed $10,000 this week to The Salvation Army to help that organization serve the community during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

The gift came via the Carmage and Martha Ann Walls Foundation, which allows publishers at all Southern Newspapers Inc.-owned papers to choose a local nonprofit 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.

“This newspaper is part of Lamar County, in good times and in bad, and we are invested in its future,” Paris News publisher Relan Walker said.

Publishers of each newspaper recommend organizations for funding, and the foundation’s board of trustees vote on distribution.

Past recipients of Carmage and Martha Ann Walls Foundation grants distributed through The Paris News include the Downtown Food Pantry, Children’s Advocacy Center and Boys & Girls Club of the Red River Valley, among many others.

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 health care 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.

The newspapers themselves also sponsor local events and activities that benefit the areas they service. Just a few of those sponsored by The Paris News include Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society, Red River Valley Veteran’s Memorial and CASA.

“I’m proud to work for a community-first newspaper company,” Walker said.

“We literally are invested in our towns in so many ways, including job creation, community building, accountability journalism, marketing to help local businesses reach audiences and more. Walls Foundation grants allow us to have a significant impact on nonprofits that enrich our community and the efforts of local volunteers,” Walker said.

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