Board of Directors
Dr. Ann Marie Kinnell is the Co-director of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development (2018-) and the director of the Nonprofit Studies program (2007-) at The University of Southern Mississippi. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology from Indiana University-Bloomington (1997). Her first foray into the nonprofit world was her dissertation which focused on counseling practices at a non-profit organization which did HIV testing where she was also the volunteer coordinator. Her current research focuses on the impact of service learning and other civic engagement programs on students and nonprofit community partners, and competition between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. She has co-authored several case study books on nonprofit leadership including Nongovernmental Organizations: Case Studies in Leadership from Around the World, 2nd Edition (Kendall Hunt) and Leadership Cases in Community Nonprofit Organizations, 2nd Edition (Kendall Hunt).
Lloyd Gray is executive director of The Phil Hardin Foundation, a statewide education philanthropy based in Meridian. Before joining the Hardin Foundation in 2015, he spent four decades as a reporter, editor and columnist for newspapers in Greenville, Biloxi and Meridian and was executive editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily in Tupelo for 23 years. He is a native Mississippian and Millsaps College graduate.
Charles Lindsay, CPA is a Shareholder at the Ridgeland-based accounting firm of Matthews, Cutrer & Lindsay, where he directs the Nonprofit practice area which serves more Nonprofits than any other Mississippi firm. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and has now provided tax and audit services to individuals, small businesses, and Nonprofits for more than 35 years. Charles devotes countless hours and expertise promoting and enhancing Mississippi’s charities. The Mississippi Society of CPA’s Not-For Profit committee (2001) is the result of his initial conceptualization. Charles also represents the CPA community as a frequent speaker on nonprofit accounting, management and governance issues. In 2013, he was named one of the Mississippi Business Journal’s “Leaders in Finance”. In 2019, he was honored with MSCPA’s Public Service Award.
Ivye L. Allen is President of the Foundation for the Mid South, a regional foundation serving Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Foundation funds programs and initiatives that focus on community development, education, health and wellness, and wealth building. Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has leveraged more than $750 million to the region. Ivye’s prior work experience includes serving as Chief Operating Officer for MDC Inc. and Director of Fellowship Programs for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Before working in the nonprofit arena, Ivye’s early experience was in finance and marketing positions in fortune 100 corporations. Her education includes a Ph.D. in social policy from Columbia University; a M.S. in Urban Affairs from Hunter College; a M.B.A. in marketing and international business from New York University; and a bachelor’s in economics from Howard University. She serves on numerous board and advisory groups and is a member of several professional and social organizations.
Jane Clover Alexander has an immense love for her community, a strong belief in the power of giving and an enduring interest in what makes people tick.
She was tapped as President and CEO of the Community Foundation in August 2012. Since she began her tenure, the Foundation has grown to $60 million in assets, with more than 250 funds –more than double its size in 2012. It also embarked on and completed an expanded vision, mission and footprint, which led to its new naming, Community Foundation for Mississippi, in November of 2017. To learn more about the work of the foundation and her story you can click here.
New public-private partnerships shepherded by the Community Foundation have seen the launch and ongoing success of the Mississippi Book Festival, remodeling and improving the Farish Street soup kitchen for Central United Methodist Church, blight remediation through Revitalize Mississippi and Action for Jackson, the renovation of Thalia Mara Hall auditorium and the new community café addressing workforce development. Most recently, the Foundation has housed the initiative between the Mississippi Governor’s Office, Mayor of the City of Jackson and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to study and identify challenges facing the Jackson Public School system, and suggest community-based solutions to address those challenges.
She currently serves on the boards of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy and is a past board member of the Rotary Club of Jackson and the Mississippi chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is a member of the CEO Forum of SECF, was a state captain for Foundations on the Hill, and serves on SECF’s Strategic Planning, Government Relations and Program Committees. She was elected to membership in International Women’s Forum in 2017.
A former magazine editor, Jane was editor of Mississippi Magazine and founded South Magazine, about the people, places and popular culture of the region. She taught journalism at Mississippi College and worked for Communication Arts Company creative agency. Her nonprofit professional experience includes work with Easter Seals, Millsaps College and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. She has served on the boards of the Oaks House Museum, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and New Stage Theatre, among others.
A native of Jackson, Jane attended St. Andrews Episcopal School, Jackson Prep and Millsaps College. She earned a master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in nonprofit public relations from the University of Mississippi. She also studied at the Else School of Management, St. John’s College, Oxford and the University of London.
Jane’s husband, Brent, is senior public policy advisor at Baker Donelson law firm, and they are the parents of twin 11-year-old girls: Elizabeth Chandler and Emily Clare. They are communicants of St. James Episcopal Church in Jackson.
The daughter of longtime community leaders and activists, Jane believes her work at the Community Foundation pays tribute to the legacy of service her parents instilled in her from the tender age of 3.
Michael Dixon received his undergraduate degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University and his Masters of Divinity at Mercer University. In 2007, Michael founded Ekklesia Hattiesburg, a non-denominational church committed to serving those in need in Hattiesburg. Michael is the former director of Extra Table and currently serves as the executive director for the Pinebelt Foundation, which has distributed over $25 million in grants. He is married to Sarah Dixon and is father to Lillian and Chapman.
Dr. Portia Ballard Espy is President and CEO of the Mississippi Urban League, Incorporated, an organization with a mission to help African Americans and others in Mississippi’s historically underserved communities to gain their highest true social parity, economic self-reliance, power, and civil rights. The MS Urban League achieves its mission via programs that focus on health, justice, jobs, education, and housing.
Dr. Espy has vast executive-level experience in manufacturing, energy, aerospace, and nonprofit sectors. She has worked as an executive in human resources management, grants management, and external affairs for several companies, including Pellerin Milnor Corporation, subsidiaries of Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell Offshore, Inc.; Shell Chemical Company; and Shell Corporation), Entergy (Entergy Corporation and Entergy Mississippi, Inc.), and Raytheon Aerospace.
She later entered the nonprofit sector to serve as Associate Director at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Mid-South Delta Initiative, Chief Administrative Officer at the Children’s Defense Fund – Southern Regional Office, and both Director of Community Building and Executive director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation (now known as the Alluvial Collective). Dr. Espy was instrumental in the Winter Institute’s transition from its original home at the University of Mississippi and led the effort to establish the organization as an independent 501c3 located in Jackson, Mississippi.
Dr. Espy is a native of Franklinton, Louisiana, and a graduate of Franklinton High School. She obtained a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Jackson State University and a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard Kennedy School in May of 2021. Dr. Espy also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and an M.B.A. from Loyola University of New Orleans.
Sanford Johnson is an education consultant in the Mississippi Delta. He is a native Mississippian who’s spent the past 16 years working in education. His career began as a 2003 Teach for America Delta corps member, where he taught high school Social Studies in Mississippi and Arkansas. He later co-founded Mississippi First, where he served as Deputy Director for ten years.
Along with Sanford’s work in education, he’s also a member of the Mississippi Sex Education Training Cadre and is a board member for Teen Health Mississippi and Mississippi Kids Count. Sanford also chairs the Clarksdale Municipal Elections Commission. He lives in Clarksdale with his wife, Amanda, and their two daughters.
Marcus Ward is Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Alcorn State University and Executive Director of the ASU Foundation, Inc. where he successfully leads university advancement efforts including fundraising, alumni relations and government affairs on behalf of America’s oldest historically black land-grant university.
Since 2010, he and his small team have collaborated to raise over $15 Million (including the largest gift in history) in scholarships, program and operational funding for the university. Additionally, as its Legislative Liaison, Mr. Ward has helped the University realize over $50 Million in directed and bonds funding (above general funding) from the Mississippi Legislature for new facilities and capital infrastructure. He also oversaw the funding, construction and marketing of the largest football video scoreboard in the SWAC and on the campus of an HBCU.
Marcus has served as Chief of Staff for the late Mayor Frank E. Melton of the City of Jackson, Mississippi, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Special Assistant to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott and as a Staff Assistant for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. While in the Mayor’s Office, Ward procured over $40 Million in Federal and State earmarked appropriations and grant funding for the city.
Marcus holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Pre-Law from Alcorn State University and earned his Masters of Public Administration degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He has also studied public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Marcus is a Ford Foundation PPIA Fellow, an American Israel Education Foundation Fellow (AIPAC), a Kentucky Colonel and a graduate of Leadership Greater Jackson Class of 2007-2008. He is a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, has served on the board of the Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2014 where he is the 2018 President-Elect. Ward is a certified reserve police officer for the City of Jackson, Mississippi Police Department and is married to Erin Duffy Ward. They are members of New
Dimensions International Fellowship of Ministries
Rodger Wilder is a founding member and currently serves as President & CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. He is also Of Counsel with the law firm of Balch & Bingham LLP in the firm’s Gulfport, Mississippi, office, where he has practiced law for over 45 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Mississippi, School of Law.
Rodger is Past President of The Mississippi Bar, The Mississippi Bar Foundation, and the Harrison County Bar Association. He is a member of the American Bar Association and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, The Mississippi Bar Foundation, The Mississippi Bar’s Young Lawyer’s Division, and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. He currently co-chairs the Mississippi Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. In 2006 he was voted one of South Mississippi’s Outstanding Community Leaders by The Sun Herald and The Journal of South Mississippi Business. Rodger is a founding member of the Gulf Coast Business Council, the Knight Non-profit Center, and a graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast. In 2007 he was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, and in 2009 was a recipient of the Coast Young Professional “4-Ever Young” Community Leadership Award. Rodger has served as a board member and in leadership position with numerous local and state-wide organizations.
He and his wife, Ruthie, live in Gulfport, MS. They are the proud parents of two sons and grandparents of two grandsons.
Arthur Young, better known as “Sandy”, has served as chairperson of the Charles L. Young, Sr. Foundation since 2010. This family foundation is based in Meridian, Mississippi and has focused its philanthropic activities in the Lauderdale County area since 2002. Sandy worked for E.F. Young, Jr. Manufacturing Company for over two decades before retiring in 2002 from the position of International Sales Manager. He is currently the owner and/or senior partner of multiple businesses.