updated 2/10/2011 4:17:03 PM ET 2011-02-10T21:17:03

HATTIESBURG, Miss., Feb. 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi (R3SM), Inc. received two Partnership Grant Program (PGP) awards through BancorpSouth; The First, A National Banking Association (The First); and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). A total of $30,000 in grant funds will assist R3SM with operating costs and daily expenses.

Partnership grants are offered through FHLB Dallas's member institutions, such as BancorpSouth and The First, and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  The grants provide funding for operational needs of community-based organizations involved in affordable housing and community development.  FHLB Dallas matches a member's cash contributions to a community-based organization of $500 up to $5,000 at a 3:1 ratio.  Through its member institutions, FHLB Dallas awarded $225,000 in partnership grants in 2010, and will again offer $225,000 in PGP funds through its member institutions in 2011.

In 2006, R3SM was originally established as a division of the United Way to assist with the rehabilitation efforts in the gulf coast region of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. R3SM has since become its own entity, and has worked diligently with various local, state, federal, and nonprofit organizations to restore approximately 350 homes and construct 12 new homes for needy families in 28 counties across the state.

"The PGP funds will help propel us into the new year with more working capital so that we may continue our sustainability and help restore the Mississippi gulf coast to a safe and vibrant region," said Sheila Varnado, executive director at R3SM. "We will use the funds as strategically as possible to help maintain operational costs and grant writing assistance. We are very appreciative of the support we have received from BancorpSouth, The First, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, as they are all valued partners in our mission."

BancorpSouth made a $2,500 contribution to R3SM, which qualified the organization for $7,500 in matching grant funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. Through this partnership, BancorpSouth awarded R3SM a total PGP award of $10,000.

"Although R3SM receives various other grant funding, most of the money is tied up in particular projects, leaving them with a low budget for working capital," said Stacy Thompson, vice president and Community Reinvestment Act officer at BancorpSouth in Hattiesburg. "R3SM has made a significant difference in our community, and is working hard to rehabilitate a region that has become so impoverished. We are fortunate to be a partner in its efforts, and the PGP funding will help R3SM maintain the working capital they need to continue its mission and build for a better future."

Ms. Thompson also serves on the board of directors of R3SM and introduced the organization to the available grant programs through FHLB Dallas. R3SM also received an Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant through BancorpSouth to assist with the development of a low-income subdivision in Hattiesburg.

The First has also actively utilized FHLB Dallas's grant programs to assist with various affordable housing projects in the Mississippi gulf coast region. The First contributed $5,000 to R3SM, which qualified the organization for the maximum amount of PGP funding, $15,000, from FHLB Dallas. Through PGP, The First awarded a $20,000 grant to R3SM.

"The First is very pleased to partner with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas to award R3SM a partnership grant through its competitive application process," said Jerome Brown, vice president and director of community development at The First.   "The First selected R3SM based upon its reputation in the community as a nonprofit organization that champions their efforts to recover, rebuild, and restore southeast Mississippi.  This grant will enable R3SM to continue their mission and extend their services."

Through its partnerships with local, state, and federal entities, R3SM has seen tremendous growth and support over the past few years. Volunteers have flooded the area to assist with labor and supplies. With support through programs such as PGP, and partners like BancorpSouth and The First, R3SM may continue its mission to proactively address and restore the affordable housing needs within its region.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932.  FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $51.6 billion as of September 30, 2010, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.  For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3013

CONTACT: Corporate Communications
         Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
         www.fhlb.com
         (214) 441-8445

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