Board of Directors
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.
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.
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.
Sam Burke is the Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy in Biloxi, and has served in that capacity since 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has worked in non-profit management for the past 18 years. He has certifications from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s School of Executive Leadership, Portland State University’s Non-Profit Leadership Development Program, the MS Center for Non-Profits Leadership Institute and Excellence in Action Accreditation Program. Burke currently serves on the Board of Directors for the MS Alliance of Non-Profits and Philanthropies, as well as the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce.
He is a past Board Member and Program Chair for Leadership Gulf Coast. He is a member of Rotary Club of Biloxi, having served as President in 2008. He is a 2009 recipient of the Top 10 Business Leaders Under 40.
Burke is a life-long resident of the MS Gulf Coast, he and his wife Sarah live in Biloxi with their 4 children: Sam Jr. (14), Cole (12), Alyson (4) and Bennett(4).
Mike Clayborne has served as President of the CREATE Foundation since November 1996. Mike is a native of Northeast Mississippi having been born and raised in Amory, Mississippi. He first came to CREATE as a consultant in 1994 when he helped start the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi. His career in community development started as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce in his hometown. He was Executive Director of the Starkville Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Organization. He later led the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce in Anniston, Alabama before coming to CREATE.
After receiving a B.S. Degree from Mississippi State University, Mike then graduated from the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Georgia, and the National Planned Giving Institute at the College of William & Mary.
During his twenty four years as President of CREATE, over $196 Million in contributions have been made to the organization. This represents 94% of the total contributions in the organization’s 48 year history. Total assets have increased from $13.9 million to over $146 million during this same period.
Dr. Michael Cormack is the Chief of Staff for Jackson Public Schools. In this role, he develops and executes the district’s new strategic plan Excellence of All. He also manages the work of several key departments including Public Engagement, State and Federal Programs, Data and Accountability, and Human Resources. Prior to his work in JPS, Michael served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Barksdale Reading Institute, a statewide organization dedicated to improving early literacy and teacher development outcomes in Mississippi. The BRI provides teacher and principal literacy professional development and partners with Mississippi school districts and parents to improve kindergarten readiness. Additionally, Michael served as the principal of Quitman County Elementary School in the Mississippi Delta. Working as a team, QCES teachers, students, and parents have dramatically raised student achievement at the school from an “At Risk of Failing” status to “Successful” designation. His transformative work as principal is profiled in the New York Times bestselling memoir Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant.
Michael has also worked as a classroom teacher and has served in a variety of staff roles with Teach For America – Mississippi. He also is the voice for several education workout videos in the Move to Learn series, where he can be heard singing and rapping about the alphabet sounds and teaching students “how to act” in the various situations.
Michael studied philosophy and political science at Boston College. He holds master’s degrees in education from Delta State University and Teachers College, Columbia University and completed his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University. He was selected as a Fellow of the prestigious America Achieves Program, serves as Board Member of the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy, an Education Advisory Board Member for the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and as a Clinical Assistant Professor in Education Leadership at the University of Mississippi where he teaches qualitative research methods and ethical leadership in the Hybrid Ed.D. program. He is married to fellow educator Krystal Cormack, and they reside Jackson, Mississippi with their two daughters Kennedy (12) and Madison (11) and son Maxwell (6).
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.
Sheila Grogan, CPA, serves as President of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. In addition, she serves as Vice President, Community and Public Relations, at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi and has responsibility for corporate contributions and sponsorships, the Team Blue employee volunteerism program, and the Get Ready to Run School Program.
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.
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).
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.
Aisha Nyandoro is the Chief Executive Officer of Springboard To Opportunities. Springboard provides strategic, direct support to residents of federally subsidized affordable housing. The organization’s service delivery model uses a “radically resident-driven” approach designed to improve quality of life and end the generational poverty trajectory. Nyandoro has more than two decades of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating programs aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with limited resources.
She has worked in various capacities– as an academic, evaluator, philanthropist, and nonprofit executive. These varied experiences have allowed her to better understand systems and policies that impact vulnerable communities. Prior to serving with Springboard, Aisha served as a Program Officer with the Foundation for the Mid South. During her tenure, she strengthened the Foundation’s community development portfolio by executing a plan focused on five specific strategies aimed at transforming communities. Additionally, she led the Foundation’s place based initiative – Community of Opportunities. Under her leadership, community leaders were able to leverage more than $20 million in federal and private funding. In addition, she established statewide, regional, and national public-private partnerships to create resources and assist the Foundation in achieving its mission and goals.
She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Tennessee State University, a M.A. in Community Psychology and Urban Affairs and a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from Michigan State University. Aisha’s commitment to community and passion for social change is demonstrated through her varied volunteer work including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the various boards of directors and advisory councils to which she lends her expertise and service. Aisha has received multiple honors, including recognition as a fellow of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network and Ascend at the Aspen Institute. She is a TedX speaker and her work has been featured in both print and news media outlets including: Essence Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, Fast Company and The Nation to name a few. Aisha’s life mission is to holistically and compassionately lift families out of cycles of poverty. When not working to transform impoverished communities, she is a wife and mommy to the best two little boys in the world.
Josie Shumake returned to Columbus, MS, in 2009 after retiring from the U.S. diplomatic service where she served for 25 years promoting U.S. foreign policy. Since coming home, she has volunteered at the national, state and community levels. She has been a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) since 2013, serving as one of its twelve non-governmental members. She also served on the state board of Volunteer Mississippi for six years. Locally, her focus revolves around improving education in the community, and she serves on various boards – such as the Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees and the Lowndes Community Foundation – to further those goals. She holds a B.A. in history and English from Mississippi State and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of South Carolina.
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