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Achieving the Dream Through Partnership

Author: Jim McHale

Mar07

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.

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Member Highlight: Lewis Whitfield

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Mar07

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."

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State Policy Briefs - May 2019

Author: Matthew L. Evans

May02

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 matthew@secf.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.

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Member Highlight: Juanita Floyd

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

May09

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.

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11 States in 11 Months: Southern Philanthropy in... Mississippi

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul25


Note: This post is the seventh in a series that will run throughout our 50th Anniversary year. Each month, we'll focus on philanthropy in one of the 11 states in the SECF footprint, using both current and historical data while highlighting a variety of voices. This month's state: Mississippi.


Mississippi Philanthropy Snapshot

First SECF Member: The Phil Hardin Foundation (joined 1973)
Newest SECF Member: Woodward Hines Education Foundation (joined 2017)
Number of SECF Members: 16



Learn more about Mississippi foundations from SECF’s Southern Trends Report!

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Immigration Enforcement Must Put Families First

Author: Janine Lee and Sammy Moon

Aug09

            


Earlier this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carried out a series of raids at facilities throughout Mississippi that resulted in nearly 700 men and women being apprehended and accused of being in the country illegally. 

It quickly became clear that these actions did not take into account the impact on the families of those taken into custody. The raids came on the first day of school – many children emerged from what should be a day of promise and possibility to find no one to pick them up, with no information on what happened to their mother or father. In some cases, children lost both parents to these raids. 

We have since seen images of children crying in the street, confused and afraid. Many children were left with, literally, nowhere to go. The local residents and businesses that volunteered to house these children until they could be connected with loved ones deserve our highest praise. While many of those initially taken into custody have since been released, hundreds more are still in detention. 

Sadly, these actions are all too reminiscent of the family separations that took place at the Southern border last year. Back then, SECF leadership wrote that “the treatment of children and families is not a political issue – it is a humanitarian one.” This remains the truth today.

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Hull Fellows Highlight: Wesley Prater

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Feb25

Before entering philanthropy, Wesley Prater worked on behalf of retired citizens in Ohio. He analyzed health policy in Washington, D.C. He has also studied at institutions like Yale University and Ohio State University.

Through it all, however, he’s only called one place home – Mississippi, where he now works at a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“I have been fortunate to live in different parts of the country throughout my adult life and travel around the world, but there is no place I love more than my home state of Mississippi,” he said. “The strength, intelligence, success, and love I have witnessed from Mississippians gives me more hope than ever for the state’s future.”

Though based in Michigan, the Kellogg Foundation has made Mississippi a priority place for its investments as part of its work to advance racial equity. Wesley’s work there has focused on health care policy and advocacy efforts.

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has a long history of supporting racial justice and racial equity not only in the South but across the globe,” Wesley said. “The past year has reinforced the importance of our work to continue working with communities to address the critical needs of children and families, support the nonprofit sector, and tackle issues around racial injustice.”

While his previous work and studies prepared him well for much of his current role, Wesley came to the Kellogg Foundation without much experience within philanthropy. He said SECF’s Hull Fellows program has helped him better understand the sector’s role in helping communities.

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Hours:
Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (ET)


Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.