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W. K. Kellogg Foundation Names Gloria Dickerson Mid South Delta Initiative Coordinator

Returning to her roots in Mississippi, Gloria Dickerson has been selected as the Mid South Delta Initiative Coordinator for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Dickerson, the Controller for the Foundation since 1999, will relocate the MSDI office to Jackson, MS from Pine Bluff, AR.

In her new role, Dickerson will be responsible for coordination of all Mid South Delta Initiative activities in the region, including providing primary on-site leadership, building both human and institutional capacities for regional leadership and decision-making, and maintaining accurate and current knowledge about trends, issues and public policy relating to food systems, rural development, leadership development, philanthropic organizations, and the region.

The initiative, started in 1997, has created ripples of change throughout the Delta Region: over 1,400 families have secured new homes, 148 new businesses have been launched, 2,975 jobs have been saved or created, 16 child-care facilities have been built or expanded, and 6,215 youth have been involved in MSDI programs.

“Gloria brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to her new position, both professionally and from her deep roots in the region,” said Rick Foster, Vice President, Food Systems and Rural Development. “And she has the passion to make a difference in the region.”

“I welcome the opportunity to return home to work with all the citizens of the region to build a better economic future,” said Dickerson. Dickerson follows Freddye Webb-Petett who served as the Foundation’s Delta representative for the last five years. Webb-Petett retired from the Foundation this month after 15 years of service and will continue to reside in the region close to family.

Before joining the Foundation, Dickerson was Vice President, Financial Operations for MINACT, INC. in Jackson, Mississippi. She also served as corporate controller for the same company. Earlier, she was an accountant with North East Electric Power in Oxford, Mississippi.

Born and raised in the Delta, her family’s struggle for equality in education opportunity was captured in the book, Silver Rights by Constance Curry. Her family, parents Mae Bertha and Matthew Carter, along with her eight siblings, were the first black citizens of Sunflower County, Mississippi to sign their school district’s “freedom of choice” papers to attend the white schools in Drew. In 1967, her parents, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, brought a historic lawsuit against the Drew, Mississippi, Municipal Separate School District. They won the class-action suit which threw out the freedom of choice plans and ordered desegregation of the schools.

As Dickerson told Curry in the book, “We never once thought of quitting. We were not going to let them run us away.” Now in her new position, Dickerson returns to help residents of the Delta region increase their opportunity for economic growth through the Mid South Delta Initiative.

Dickerson received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and her MBA from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She is a Certified Public Accountant.

The Mid South Delta Initiative’s office is located at 222 N. Presidents Street, Suite 201, Jackson, Mississippi 39201 and the phone number is 601-944-4155 or 888-885-1282.

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.” Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.

To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

For more information, visit the MSDI website at www.msdi.org.

What is the status of the Mid South Delta Initiative?
Conceptualization of the initiative began in 1995
Grantmaking began in 1997
The initiative is entering the last year of its second phase

What types of projects receive grants?

For a complete list of all projects in the Mid South Delta Initiative, please visit the Knowledgebase on the Foundation’s website at www.wkkf.org. The most up-to-date list of partners can be found by clicking on the MSDI link.

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