Featured Grantee: Methodist Children’s Home

Project: Girls Matter

Focus Area: Planned Pregnancy


The abused and neglected girls in foster care at Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) are already at a social and economic disadvantage. The RN-led Girls Matter program teaches these girls comprehensive sex ed including safe sex and STI/HIV prevention, abstinence, consent, birth control options, and healthy relationships. The grant also funded the setup of a separate room in the MCH facility and the purchase of supplies for the on-site counseling and health clinic.

The program is divided into two groups: Girls with Goals, addresses “at risk” teenagers, while Girls with Gifts addresses teenagers who are pregnant or have recently given birth.

MCH leadership recently visited with the WFM Board and staff to share details and progress of the grant-funded program.

Devon Loggins, President and CEO, explained that the youth in these groups see the highest rates of incarceration, homelessness, and being behind peers in school.  The girls in this MCH residential setting have been in 7-14 different placements/homes before coming to MCH. The average age for their first pregnancy is 16, with an average second pregnancy by the age of 18. The young people in the foster care population also have high rates of STDs and HIV. They also suffer from complex trauma which is defined as being caused by caregivers and impacts the ability of the child to trust adults/new caregivers.

The Girls Matter program was developed to reduce these negatives and Mr. Loggins shared how the grant from the WFM helped provide this support for “taking care of kids that everyone else has said ‘no’ to.”

These are two stories of young women who have been part of the grant-funded program:

One young woman in foster care at MCH described her experience in the Girls Matter program as “fun and helpful”. She explained that the program helped her realize that pregnancy and STDs are not what she wants and taught her useful knowledge via videos, games, and worksheets in an open, trusting, and confidential setting.

Another young woman who had suffered sexual abuse as a young child had received previous therapy and counseling during her two years of living in foster care. MCH program leaders described that it wasn’t until the Girls Matter program that she realized the abuse was not her fault and is able to move forward with the understanding of healthy relationships and the risks and setbacks of STIs and unplanned pregnancy.  This young woman now has a part-time job and is about to complete her GED with plans of becoming a photographer.


(L to R): Arkala Sneed, MCH Therapist; Becky Byrd, MCH COO; Latisha Latiker, WFM Director of Grant Programming; and Devon Loggins, MCH President and CEO



Featured Grantee: Northeast Mississippi Community College

Project: Fueling the Career

Focus Area: Access to Opportunity / Community College


This WFM-funded program at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) is based on the “Securing a Better Future” research the WFM commissioned from IWPR in 2014 to understand the needs and obstacles of women community college students.

With the $50,000 two-year grant from the WFM, the program assists female students enrolled in NEMCC’s Career Pathway program with costs associated with child care, transportation and college debt.

In the first six months of the program, the number of women served by the program has already exceeded the goal for the first year.

Transportation assistance – usually in the form of gas cards and occasionally for car repairs – has been the most beneficial to participants. Many of the women served have indicated that without this assistance, they would not have been able to enroll in or continue the program.

In addition to help with transportation needs, the program also provides childcare assistance and funds for textbooks and tuition. Women in the program are also supported with job and career counseling via NEMCC Career Pathway program for students enrolled in the areas of Medical/Business Office Assistant, Industrial Maintenance, or Information Technology.

Millie’s success story is just one example of the early successes from the WFM grant and NEMCC’s “Fueling the Career” program:

Millie is a dedicated and hardworking student who works part time while she is enrolled in the Medical and Business Office Assisting path at NEMCC. She is single, lives alone, and also happens to be 56+ years old.

After getting by with starting her car each morning with a screwdriver under the hood, Millie was distraught when her car finally broke down in the school parking lot. She visited the program coordinator and said that she would not be able to continue with classes because she had no other means of transportation. And, in fact, Millie had been giving two other students rides to campus, so the other students were also at risk.

The grant-funded program provided funds to repair Millie’s car so she – and others who rely on her for transportation – could continue to attend class.

Millie is grateful for the help and is looking forward to completing the program this spring and re-entering the workforce as a full time worker with a better job.

Meet the Board: Kimberly Hilliard

At the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, we love our board members and want to be sure you know who they are! Their individual and collective strength, support, and leadership are key to helping women thrive.

Kimberly Hilliard (Secretary)

Kimberly Hilliard, Ph.D., serves as the the founding Executive Director for the Office of Community Engagement at Jackson State University. Dr. Hilliard, native of Washington, DC, holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tuskegee University, a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and obtained her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University. Hilliard provides leadership in connecting the University with local, state, and federal agencies, community-based organizations, and local residents and businesses.

We asked Kim a couple of questions about her obvious passion for the WFM:

Q:  What made you want to become involved with the WFM?

My professional background is in community and economic development. The volunteer service with WFM allows for my professional and personal values to intersect. My desire is to always give back due to the many blessings bestowed upon me. It’s exciting to work with an organization that has an intentional path towards improved quality of life for all Mississippians. Our generation has the opportunity and obligation to build upon our strengths as a state and course correct mistakes made in the past.

Our grantees are doing transformative work by promoting economic opportunities, social change tied to research, diversity, and innovation. The efforts supported by WFM will have an impact for generations to come. Lastly, it’s a cool board!


Q:  What is one thing you wish people knew about the work and mission of the WFM?

There is a direct correlation between the well-being of young girls and women and the vitality of the State of Mississippi. I firmly believe in an African proverb that states “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation).” By supporting WFM, you are developing stronger citizens and communities of Mississippi.

Kimberly (at right), with LoRose Hunter (center), and Dr. Alisa Mosley at SMART Party.

Meet the Board: Kim Burke

At the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, we love our board members and want to be sure you know who they are! Their individual and collective strength, support, and leadership are key to helping women thrive.

Kim Burke (2017 Chair-elect)

Kim Burke

Kimberly Gladden Burke, Ph.D. is a Professor of Accounting and Dean of the Else School of Management at Millsap’s College.  Prior to completing her Ph.D., Kim worked as an auditor for Price Waterhouse and a director of internal audit for Unigate Restaurants.  She is the author of several courses offered by the AICPA as well as several articles published in academic journals.  Kim was recognized by the Mississippi Society of CPAs as the 2014 Outstanding Educator and by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as the 2008 Mississippi Professor of the Year.  Kim and her husband, Rick, are the proud parents of their daughter Kelsey.

We asked Kim a couple of questions about her obvious passion for the WFM:

Q:  What made you want to become involved with the WFM?

I am a very lucky woman – I have not had to worry about my economic security.  I have had the opportunity to obtain a great education and work with several wonderful organizations over the course of my career.  Now, part of my job as an educator is to guide and mentor other young women as they prepare for their careers. 

When I moved to Mississippi, though, I was struck by the sheer number of women caught in a cycle of unplanned pregnancy, lack of education and poverty.  As a woman who has been given so many opportunities, I felt the need to get involved, but I wasn’t quite sure how.
I came to the WFM by accident.  A friend invited me to a WFM event featuring Anna Deveare Smith.  Before the event, I had the opportunity to meet several people affiliated with the group, and I became intrigued.  After doing a little homework, I realized that WFM was what I was looking for – an organization dedicated to improving the economic security of all women.


Q:  What is one thing you wish people knew about the work and mission of the WFM?

It’s awfully easy to pigeonhole the work of the WFM and presume that it only affects “others,” i.e. those women who are not economically secure.  I believe there is a moral imperative for those of us who can to support this work. 

But if that argument doesn’t appeal to someone, I would ask them to consider the economic impact of the WFM.  The economy is an aggregate construct that reflects the production and consumption of 
all of us.  When a significant portion of the population suffers, we all feel it in one way or another.  As we work to empower women in Mississippi, the WFM is actually working to improve the lives of all its citizens.

Help Women Thrive on Giving Tuesday!

11-29-2016Participate in this day of global giving and help women in Mississippi thrive!

There are lots of ways you can give to the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi:


Text “WOMEN” to 50555 to donate $25


Text “THRIVE” to 50555 to donate $10


Click here to make a pledge or donation online.

Your donation will help continue our grantmaking and programs that help women in the areas of planned pregnancy, education, and careers that lead to economic security.

Want to learn more about what we do? Click here.



$25.00 or $10.00 donation to Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 50555 to STOP. Text HELP to 50555 for HELP. Full Terms: www.mGive.org/T. Privacy Policy

Featured Grantee: UMMC Lanier High Teen Advocacy

Project: Lanier High Teen Advocacy Program

Focus Area: Planned Pregnancy


In conjunction with University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Lanier High Teen Advocacy Program        (LH-TAP) aims to prevent teen pregnancy through access to a youth-centered clinic at Lanier High School.

UMMCLH-TAP will promote reproductive health and expand access to primary and preventative care for the teens it serves. The program will also establish a Teen Advisory Board made up of students who will participate in a peer-education training progr

LH-TAP will use Safer Choices, an evidenced-based program that has been identified as a “program that works” by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Safer Choices is an evidence-based HIV/STI and teen pregnancy prevention curriculum, and its primary aim is to reduce the number of students engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse by 1) reducing the number of students who begin or have sexual intercourse during their high school years, and by 2) increasing condom use among those students who have sex. Group classes will be offered four days a week in an after-school format.

Click here to learn more about the Planned Pregnancy focus area and grantees.

After 30 Years of Trying: College Success!

Over the span of 30 years, Melissa started and stopped college numerous times.

Derailed by major life events such as complications of pregnancy, death of her husband and being a single parent of two small children, and diagnosis and treatment of cancer, she was hesitant to try again. So Melissa stayed out of college. Instead she worked until she developed numerous health conditions and extreme obesity. Bedridden, she was told she was dying. She felt like she wanted to die.

In 2013, Melissa decided she did not want to be a negative influence on her granddaughter. She found new ways to manage her health issues, lost weight, and reignited her wish for getting a degree. She started back to college for her fifth time—this time participating in the EMPOWR (Empowering Mentors to Promote Women’s Retention) program.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.01.30 PMEMPOWR is a program of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University and is a grantee of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. EMPOWR combines peer mentoring and interactive sessions to increase social integration and retention of nontraditional female students age 22–60.

With a 3.6 GPA, Melissa is determined to finish college and attributes her success to EMPOWR.

Discover more about EMPOWR.

New Look!

You might have noticed that the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi has a new look. We are excited to share it with you!


womens-foundation-logo-4c consider-this-logo-4c fact-not-fiction-logo-4c
We’re committed to the same values and mission, as always, but think our new materials help tell the story of why and how we help women thrive.

When women thrive, Mississippi thrives. 

The Women’s Foundation is committed to helping Mississippi’s women and girls transcend our state’s dire social and economic barriers. By cultivating social change, we create long-term opportunity for personal stability and stronger families. In doing so, the Women’s Foundation fosters greater success for our entire state.


Featured Grantee: Tunica Teens in Action

Project: Healthy Communities and Healthy Community Organizers – Sexual Reproductive Health

Focus Area: Planned Pregnancy



Tunica Teens in Action, Inc (TTiA) will expand the implementation of the Becoming a Responsible Teen (BART) curriculum to over 100 teens in Tunica County.

In addition to expanded BART trainings, TTiA will conduct two (2) annual county wide Healthy Communities and Healthy Community Organizers Conferences to address:
• Open attitudes and positive sexual health
• Techniques to improve parent/child communications
• Role play activities with real life scenarios for both parent/child
• Interpersonal skill development
• Peer pressure and coping devices
• Personal hygiene
• Safe places


Tunica Teens in Action will also work with three teen mentoring and peer coaching groups:
• PYT – Pretty Young Things – targeting teen girls (ages 12-17)
• TMI – Tunica Men’s Initiative – targeting teen males (ages 12-17)
• M&M – Mommy and Me – targeting teen parents (ages 12-17)

Click here to learn more about the Planned Pregnancy focus area and grantees.

New Executive Director Named

After an extensive search, Tracy DeVries has been named as the incoming Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. DeVries comes to the Foundation with vast experience in non-profit leadership and with an understanding that women with access to opportunities make the greatest impact on their communities.

“As I prepare to hand off leadership, I am delighted and confident that Tracy will build on our legacy of helping women thrive,” notes Carol Penick. “Working with the current staff and board, Tracy will take the Foundation’s mission to even higher levels of success for the women in Mississippi.”

While in her current role at Special Olympics International, DeVries has spent time living between Washington, D.C., and Mississippi. During this time, she was introduced to the Women’s Foundation by friends and instantly felt a connection to the people and the mission of the Foundation. “I remember being impressed by the women I met and feeling like I had found a group I wanted to be part of,” recalls DeVries. “When I heard that the Executive Director position was open, I knew I had to apply. And, I’m now honored to have the opportunity to begin my next chapter in that capacity this fall.”

DeVries will become Executive Director effective January 1, 2017. She will work with retiring Executive Director Carol Penick starting in November in order to facilitate a smooth transition.

Tracy DeVries at SMART Party

Tracy is pictured above (at left) enjoying the WFM SMART Party with other guests.