Message from Leadership
Mississippi First launched as a nonprofit on October 15, 2008, with a lot of dreams, a little funding, and a passionate urgency to make education better in Mississippi. What was once just an idea is now a high-performing organization that is changing the lives of students in Mississippi daily. In the past decade, we have passed two pieces of watershed legislation (Mississippi Public Charter Schools Act and the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013), become an important implementation partner to education policymakers, published multiple reports, and developed the groundwork for a teen health organization. This year’s annual report celebrates our milestones over the last decade.
We wouldn’t be here without the support of so many. We have tried to capture the names of our recent supporters later in the report, but we want to send a special thank-you to our founding mentor Alan Khazei, our founding donor Josh Bekenstein, Christine Letts and Chris Stone (both of the Harvard Kennedy School), our first Board member Coleman Carlisle, our founding Board, our founding Board Chair Kitty Ramsey, our longest-serving Board Chair Maggie Middleton, all former Board members, our current Board (Matty Bengloff, Brett Harris, Catoria Martin, LaKesha Perry, and Adam Smith), some of our earliest foundation champions Jon-Paul Bianchi and Sherman Whites, wisewomen Marcie Skelton and Lee Ann Mayo, MDE friends Lynn House and Kim Benton, thought partners Bonita Coleman and Krystal Cormack, and my former interns Angela Bass (so glad you’re still with us!), Cortez Moss, Victoria Romano Haberman, Charles Woods, Erika Berry, Benjamin Lynch, Tim Abrams, and Camille Nelson. We would not be the organization we are without you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We are also proud to formally introduce you to Teen Health Mississippi! When we founded Mississippi First, we never thought our project promoting sex education in public schools would grow to encompass five staff members and multiple projects in teen health. Our teen health work has now expanded beyond our mission. At the start of 2019, they will officially be an independent nonprofit. We wish them the best of luck and hope you will continue to follow their work as they too will continue to make Mississippi First in the years to come.
View our past Mississippi First annual reports: