Achieving the Dream Through Partnership
Author: Jim McHale
Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” This is the mindset we must have in our efforts to improve postsecondary outcomes for underserved students. No one can succeed alone. Because the challenges are many and the resources limited, it is essential to look for every opportunity to partner.
One such partnership opportunity is coming to Mississippi for the first time, supported by a $900,000 grant from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation. Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of community colleges committed to helping their students – particularly low-income students and students of color – achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth and economic opportunity. This fall, Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) will join more than 220 community colleges serving 4 million students across 40 states in the ATD network.
ATD offers data-driven coaching and training for community college leaders, tapping into national datasets and assessment tools to help colleges benchmark their performance over time. Through their participation in ATD over the four-year funding period, Coahoma and MGCCC will have access to these tools to help them set priorities within seven key capacity areas: Leadership & Vision, Data & Technology, Equity, Teaching & Learning, Engagement & Communication, Strategy & Planning, and Policies & Practices. ATD will coach each college on how to use their own data to inform their actions, from the programs they offer to the policies they enact.
Member Highlight: Lewis Whitfield
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
Convening power is one of the greatest assets a foundation has -- by leveraging its reputational capital, funders can bring people from different sectors, and possessing different viewpoints, together for conversations that boost a sense of community and can even inspire collaborative action.
The CREATE Foundation in Tupelo, Mississippi, recently tapped into its convening power by holding a summit for educators and business leaders to discuss how schools in the region are addressing the needs of students and connecting them with jobs.
The foundation's senior vice president, Lewis Whitfield, spoke at the event. He said the summit aligned well with the foundation's mission.
"CREATE Foundation's Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi has been focused on lifting the personal incomes of the people of our region -- primarily by helping improve the educational attainment levels of our population," he said. "Community foundations are a great source of data on key issues. Moreover, they are uniquely positioned to provide a forum for nonthreatening discussion of these underlying data and the issues. We believe in being a convener and catalyst for these discussions, but we also realize that without cooperative community partners our effectiveness would be limited."
State Policy Briefs - May 2019
Author: Matthew L. Evans
Periodically, SECF will provide members with updates on state legislation from the Southeast and beyond that affects philanthropy. If you have questions related to public policy, or know of legislation at the federal or state level you would like SECF to know about, please contact Matthew L. Evans, director of public policy and special projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 524-0911.
Mississippi Law Will Encourage Gifts to Community Foundation Funds
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed a law (SB 2210) creating the Endow Mississippi Program. The legislation creates a program designed to “promote philanthropic investments in local community development programs and activities, and to enhance the quality of life for Mississippi's children, families and communities.” The law allows Mississippi tax payers to claim a tax credit for gifts made to endowed funds held by community foundations in the state.
Written as a program for corporate income, individual income, and trust income tax purposes, the law provides for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of a qualified contribution to a fund at a qualified community foundation, subject to certain requirements.
The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy and its affinity group, The Community Foundation Network, were strong advocates for the legislation, working tirelessly with legislative leaders in both the Mississippi House and Senate to help promote and get the bill passed.
The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy has provided more information about the legislation on its website.
Member Highlight: Juanita Floyd
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
Regular readers of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal are no doubt familiar with Juanita Floyd – she’s an established presence in the newspaper’s opinion section, where she serves as a community columnist.
Juanita’s column doesn’t provide sharp-tongued opinions on the political issues of the day, however. Instead, she is a voice of encouragement, urging readers to do good on behalf of their community, fight against injustice and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
“Each one of us can promote love instead of hate; promote equality and justice instead of injustice; ease suffering instead of inflicting pain; pull our neighbor and community up instead of pushing them down; build relationships with each other; and heal wounds instead of inflaming them more,” she wrote in 2018. “It is our responsibility to make a difference while we live.”
Juanita’s late mother, Bernice, is a common presence in the column. Juanita notes that despite living through the worst days of Jim Crow, she chose to focus on the good in the world and was “a change agent” in her own right.