Jo Ann Perkins told her children that only the things that they do for Jesus will last. After Perkins died in 2013, Perkin’s children decided to honor their mother with an annual gospel concert and fundraiser.
Proceeds from the concert are donated to the Jo Ann Perkins/NAACP Scholarship Fund at Grayson College. This year’s program will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Faith Church, 1800 Heritage Parkway, Sherman. The concert is free and open to the public.
“It’s a fundraiser for a potential Grayson College student,” Perkin’s daughter, Angie Perkins said. “We generally raise about $5,000 the first year and about $4,500 the second year for just one scholarship. This year, we hope to fund two scholarships.”
Between 500 and 600 people are expected to attend the program, which is in its third year.
“This program is not just about the music,” Angie Perkins said. “It is not just about the scholarship. It is about my mom. She was a community activist. She was a member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was a member of the Grayson County Democrats. She was a member of professional women’s groups.”
Aside from pushing her children to remain a part of the church, JoAnn Perkins encouraged her children to attend school.
“She believed in education and went to school at night to live out her belief in education,” Angie Perkins said. “She went to business school in Denison and she worked at Southwestern Bell Company. When we grew up, she wanted us to be educated.”
The initial $10,000 endowment for the Jo Ann Perkins Scholarship was given by Barrett Keith Brown and Roger D. Sanders.
“She always told us that we were the greatest,” Angie Perkins said. “She told us that we could do anything if we put our minds to it. We want to open the scholarship up to older people who want to go to school. We want to open it up to those that would like to attend classes on the Van Alstyne campus. We want to open it up for more people to be able to apply.”
The recipient of the 2017 scholarship was presented to Nayla Tew at the Sherman Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Grayson County NAACP Unity Banquet in August.
“My mom was a believer,” Angie Perkins said. “She always told us, only what you do for Christ will last. Whether you played the organ or you sang in the choir or did something else, do it to the best of your ability.”
The concert is a joint partnership between Faith Church, Daniel House of Deliverance, and Temple of Hope, Faith & Grace, all of Sherman; Greater Coffey Memorial Church of God In Christ and Mount Vernon Baptist Church, both of Denison; and the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church “Sounds of Victory” Young Adult Choir of Dallas.
“We have people coming from out of Dallas to perform,” Angie Perkins said. “We want this to be a community event. We want people to enjoy this music and celebrate education. It’s so amazing to have this available every year. It will be bigger. it will be better every year.”
For information about the concert, contact Faith Church at 903-893-0349.