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MS Alliance Affinity Groups

Jamie Rasberry
Policy Coordinator
MS Alliance

In August, I shared my excitement around the launch of two new affinity groups, Health and Workforce Development/Family Economic Security, and the re-launch of the Education Affinity Group.  All three groups have now met twice with much enthusiasm and an eagerness to identify gaps in services and programming that we can address as a group and determine how to fill in these needs, resulting in a positive impact for children, families, and communities in Mississippi. 

As noted in my last message, the Alliance affinity groups are bringing together stakeholders from across the state with a common interest, a desire to learn and share, and a commitment to work around specific issues that improve systems and policy at the state level. The 44 member Education Affinity Group is expanding efforts in bridging the gap in the Digital Divide. By supporting MS Connects, administered by the Mississippi Department of Education, and drafting additional pilots and programs, we seek to enhance innovation and collaboration with districts across the state. 

The Workforce/FES Affinity Group, with 53 members, has a unique opportunity to give nonprofits a voice in the renewal of the state WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act).  With the establishment of the Office of Workforce Development this year, we have the opportunity to impact the future of our state. Now is the time to elevate the role of the nonprofit and philanthropy sector as a key influencer in updating this plan.

Our Health Affinity Group, with 43 members, uses the Social Health Factor model to map the relationship between individuals, their environment, and their health to indicate where we can have the most impact in creating solutions for a healthier state for future generations.   

I am sharing the number of participants in each group so you can see how fast we have grown in six months, from one group with fewer than 30 members to three groups with 140 members!  We hope that these groups not only continue to grow but that the work we do together has a broad impact and an enduring effect on every person in our state.  I am proud of each person who showed up and represented their organizations in our meetings and excited to see what we can do together in 2022!

If you are interested in joining one of our groups, please let me know.
Jamie.Rasberry@alliancems.org

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