chane2014Designer and retailer Ron Chane says in his 25 years of making tee shirts, the community has been good to him. In 2014, he will show his appreciation in the form of $10,000 in donations to the arts and humanities.

Chane has established a fund to give grants to worthwhile projects in Fondren, Midtown, downtown, and Belhaven. His first recipient is The Hatch, a business incubator in the midtown neighborhood who recently wrapped up a successful crowd funding campaign, thanks in part to Chane’s donation.

“I’m an artist and I want to be a better artist, to be more inspired,” Chane says from his Swell-O-Phonic store in Fondren Corner. “All of those neighborhoods are hotbeds for art and I want to support them. (After 25 years), I have a platform to find ways to do that.”

Grants will come in the form of $500 and $1,000 pay outs over the course of the year. Specific parameters are still being ironed out, but one thing’s for sure: “It’s not a popularity contest,” Chane says. “We’re not just handing money out, but we’re giving it where there is a strong and specific need.”

While art will play a large role in the effort, Chane’s maybe larger focus is to take the word humanities back to its roots. “It’s human,” he emphatically spells out.

Chane says he and his girlfriend, Katie Jo Collins, have been riding around downtown Jackson giving out food and clothing on a regular basis. He says they get direction from an “inner gut feeling.” Chane says, “It’s not that we’re doing something great or cool, but everyone should be doing it. We have made friends with some of these homeless men and women. We feel guilty leaving them, thinking we could have done more.”

The hope of his efforts is to spur others to do good works in and around Jackson. “It’s not about what we could do, but what could follow after us,” he explains. “When it comes down to it, we aren’t any better than anyone else here. Everyone makes mistakes or gets dealt a bad hand, but you can’t put people out with the garbage. You have to give some heart and make them feel good. It’s just a pat on back, some warm socks, or a couple of Krystals, but it’s something everyone should be doing.”

Chane says the fund has a strong, specific aim. “It’s humble, grassroots, grainy and local,” he says. “That’s how Fondren hatched and there are those of us here who still focus on that. It’s that simple. It never killed anyone to help someone.”

Get in touch with Chane to learn more about the program at Chane says he is also working to establish a program for his employees to help them find ways to give back in the community, too.