First-Year Reflections from Former Board Chair Mike Clayborne

What an honor and privilege it was to be involved in the preliminary discussions, planning and ultimate execution of the merger of the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers and the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits to form the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy. There were so many people that played important roles in seeing this merger through to conclusion; I am reluctant to name any names. I would, however, be remiss if I did not mention the pivotal leadership of Sammy Moon, Wendy Mullins, Aisha Nyandoro, and Jo G Pritchard. The boards of both organizations, staff, and excellent consultant support, particularly from Nancy Perret, were also critically important.

Of course, it is hard to imagine the success of this groundbreaking adventure without the encouragement and financial support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Thank you, WKKF, from everyone in Mississippi. We are blessed to have you as a valued partner.

The relationship of the two organizations has been described as “two sides of the same coin.” Nevertheless, it was two different sides with different cultures and different perspectives on many issues. Each side really didn’t think the other understood their viewpoint very well. To the credit of those involved, a vision evolved of what could be possible and how Mississippi could show leadership in bringing together the “two sides of the same coin.”

I think it is remarkable in such a short period of time that such progress has been made in assembling an outstanding staff, enhancing the delivery of programs, continuing support for affinity groups (education and community foundations), finding a high profile office location, and moving towards financial sustainability. A special thank you to Sammy Moon.

I am proud to have served as the first chair of The Alliance board. I look forward to continuing being involved and seeing the impact this organization has on improving the quality of life of all of the citizens of Mississippi.

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