Edmonson Family Announces $250,000 in Challenge Grants to MSMS

HATTIESBURG, Miss. --- A Hattiesburg family is showing its dedication to the future of Mississippi’s best and brightest by dedicating up to a quarter million dollars to the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.  Chad and Catherine Edmonson have pledged to give up to $250,000 to the school - named one of the top ten high schools in America - over the next three years. 

“MSMS changed my life, and it continues to change the lives of over 200 Mississippi students each year.   I believe it is the best economic development program in our state – MSMS’s Opportunity for Excellence has launched the careers of countless entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, attorneys, and other professionals that work every day to make Mississippi better.  Our family challenges the entire MSMS community – alumni, parents of alumni, proud Mississippians, and especially our Legislature – to return the school to its historic capacity of approximately 300 students. If we cannot support a Mississippi school of this caliber, then what are we willing to support?” said Chad Edmonson. A 1999 graduate of MSMS, Edmonson is the majority owner of Lee-Way Financial Services, a Hattiesburg-based investment management firm.  

The funds will be donated as part of a series of challenge grants.  The first challenge grant, dubbed “MSMS Connections”, is to encourage members of the MSMS community to donate their email addresses to facilitate reunions, share news updates, and collect critical data.  Additional challenge grants will be announced over the coming months.  

MSMS is Mississippi’s only public, residential high school dedicated to providing the state’s most academically gifted students the highest quality education possible. Located in Columbus, Mississippi, on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women, MSMS has served students from all corners of the Magnolia State since 1988.

The education ranking site niche.com recently named MSMS the #1 high school in Mississippi and the #6 high school in America. It was also named the home of the #1 faculty in America (out of nearly 20,000 schools surveyed). MSMS serves high school juniors and seniors. Students interested in MSMS must apply their sophomore year of high school. For more information about MSMS, please visit www.themsms.org. To learn how you can help support MSMS, please visit msmsfoundation.com.

New Office Building Breaks Ground

We are excited to announce that we have started construction of our new office on 28th Avenue in Hattiesburg. Expected to be completed by the end of 2019, this project has been a very long time coming. We would like to thank all the various groups that made this possible, including Mayor Barker, Nicholas Brown, Deborah Delgado, Jeffrey George, the Hattiesburg Planning Commission, and so many of our neighbors for their support in rezoning, Chris Robinson and Joel Ford for their design work, and Josh Moudy for what we know will be a great building. But most importantly, we would like to thank all our incredible clients for their support and trust as we continue to expand our operations.

Lee-Way Partners With Thames Elementary

Lee-Way was thrilled to help sponsor the Midtown Minion 5K this past weekend to help raise funds for Thames Elementary PTA. Since 1963, Thames School has been a pillar in the Hattiesburg community, and their students have represented the city well through their academic standing, athletic performance, and service to the community. This event was focused on raising funds to upgrade playground equipment at Thames, specifically with an eye towards providing new equipment for 4th and 5th graders.

Catherine Edmonson and Jack Edmonson used this as an opportunity to also run their first 5K!

Edmonson's Support MSMS STEM Carnival at Thames Elementary

On February 13, MSMS students, faculty, and staff traveled to Thames Elementary school for the MSMS Traveling STEM Carnival.  The MSMS Science Carnival has been a school tradition for more than 25 years but this is the fifth year to host it across the state, the second year to include math stations, and has since been relabeled as the STEM Carnival.

During the carnival, every fourth-grade student in the Hattiesburg School District had the opportunity to see several interactive STEM related demonstrations conducted by MSMS students. The MSMS students in the science section presented projects and experiments that introduced higher-level scientific concepts. The students in the math section, however, focused on teaching students different and more effective ways to answer more challenging grade-level concepts.

Taking the program outside of Lowndes County goes to the heart of the school’s mission; “Part of our mission to ‘enhance the future of Mississippi’ is outreach,” says Dr. Germain McConnell, Executive Director.  He added, “We understand how important it is to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals at young ages.” Erin Williams, a senior at MSMS expressed, “It is nice knowing that my current school is giving back to my elementary school.” Williams added, “I am glad that the STEM carnival was able to provide those students with knowledge they might not have known yet. It was nice to see how excited the students were about the carnival.”

Hattiesburg was chosen this year because of one our alums.  “Chad Edmonson has talked to me for a few years about bringing the Traveling STEM Carnival to Hattiesburg, and I am happy that we were able to do so this year,” said Dr. McConnell. Edmonson is a 1999 graduate of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. Edmonson expressed, “The Traveling STEM Carnival is a great way to show kids how much fun STEM can be.” He added, “Investing in this event allowed my wife, Catherine, and I to support two of our favorite causes, the city of Hattiesburg and my alma matter.” Edmonson is the is the managing partner of Lee-Way Financial in Hattiesburg.

Chad F. Edmonson Acquires Majority Share of Lee-Way Financial

To coincide with this next step in the company’s succession plan, we honor Chip Edmonson’s career with a donation to support several causes and community organizations


Hattiesburg, MS – July 14, 2017 – Lee-Way Financial announced today that Chad F. Edmonson, CFA, acquired a majority share of the company from Chip Edmonson. This marks the next stage of a succession plan put in place when Chad joined the firm in 2015. 

“Thank you to our clients, both new and long-standing, who have supported us during this process – your help has been tremendous and humbling,” said Chip Edmonson. 

“Dad will be here for work bright and early on Monday,” said Chad Edmonson.  “But we can all agree, he has definitely earned a little more time with the grandchildren and in a hunting stand going forward after fifty-one years of tirelessly helping our clients.”

In recognition of Chip’s dedication and the support the company has received, today we are also announcing a $51,000 donation to support causes important to Chip and Lee-Way Financial’s clients – the donation amount totals $1,000 in honor of every year of Chip Edmonson’s career so far. Several recipients are listed below:

Abbie Rogers Civitan Camp

Breadbasket Ministry

Camellia Ministries

DuBard School for Language Disorders

Episcopal Church of the Ascension (Hattiesburg, MS)

Hattiesburg High School

Homes of Hope

Mississippi School for Math and Science Foundation

Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Foundation, Inc.

Peter’s Place

Philadelphia VIP

Saint Fabian Church (Hattiesburg, MS)

Southern Pines Animal Shelter

United Way of Southeast Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi

Westminster Presbyterian Church (Hattiesburg, MS)

Women for Women


About Lee-Way Financial

Lee-Way Financial is an investment management firm based in Hattiesburg, MS.  We help manage the wealth of approximately 60 families located in nearly a dozen states via separately managed portfolios invested in publicly traded securities.  For more information, please visit http://www.leewayfinancial.com/about/