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Aisha Nyandoro

Chief Executive Officer

Aisha Nyandoro is the founding CEO of Springboard to Opportunities, a Jackson, MS nonprofit that uses a “radically resident-driven” approach to end generational poverty.  In 2018, she created the Magnolia Mother’s Trust – now the country’s longest-running guaranteed income program.

In addition to leading Springboard’s community work and growing the Magnolia Mother’s Trust exponentially, Aisha is focused on shifting gendered and racialized narratives around poverty and deservedness, and working to show how the success of the Trust can be scaled nationally through policies like the expanded Child Tax Credit and a federal guaranteed income.

Her expertise on economic, racial and gender justice issues is regularly featured in outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Amanpour & Company, Essence Magazine, NBC Nightly News and CNN. She is a TEDx speaker and a fellow of the Highland Project, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network and Ascend at the Aspen Institute. She has received many awards and recognitions including the 2022 McNulty Prize and Disrupter Change Champion. She holds a B.A. from Tennessee State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. When not working to liberate financial capital she is a wife and mom to two very charming sons.

Sarah Stripp

Managing Director

Sarah Stripp is the Managing Director for Springboard To Opportunities. She is an experienced strategist and program coordinator and has worked for the past seven years in community development based non-profits taking on a variety of roles from providing direct services to coordinating and building local and national partnerships.

She has been at Springboard To Opportunities since the beginning of 2016, providing on-the-ground supportive services for families and coordinating and as a member of Springboard’s executive leadership team, she now manages larger initiatives for the organization such as The Magnolia Mother’s Trust and the organization’s work around Children’s Savings Accounts. Sarah is a graduate of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship and the Aspen Institute’s Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership in localities across North America.

Parthenia Fields

Director of Community Services & Programs

Parthenia Fields is the Director of Community Services & Programs for Springboard To Opportunities. She is an experienced program coordinator and educator, who specializes in building and sustaining community relationships and local partnerships, which are essential to the mission of Springboard and the foundation of its on-the-ground services. She has over 10 years’ experience in connecting with, providing services for, and empowering children and families who reside in low-income communities. Furthermore, she boasts over 20 years’ experience in education.

Parthenia began her career with Springboard To Opportunities in 2014, providing on-the-ground supportive services for families, cultivating relationships with residents and community partners, and developing and implementing programs. Currently, as a member of Springboard’s executive leadership team, she now leads the organization’s staff of Community Specialists and cultivates lasting partnerships that empower Springboard families to create and enact change in their lives and communities.

She holds a B.A. and Master of Arts in Teaching from Jackson State University. However, she is foremost the mother of one dynamic son, who ensures she maintains her mental dexterity and keeps her rooted in love, peace, and joy.

Treshika Melvin

Advocacy, Training, and Power Building Director

Treshika Melvin serves as the Advocacy, Training, and Power Building Director for Springboard to Opportunities. She is an energetic advocate born and raised in Jackson, MS. Treshika has worked in various nonprofit roles for most of her career, and has a long background in advocacy with a primary focus on public education. She has advocated for and alongside students and parents, coordinated and facilitated local and state level coalitions, as well as informed and worked to impact local, state, and federal level policies and legislation impacting children, schools, and marginalized communities.

Treshika has an unwavering belief in the power of community to transform society. She is grateful to be able to bring her advocacy experience and relationships to Springboard families and aims to support and equip them in owning and amplifying their individual and collective voices for the issues that matter most to them.

Treshika is a proud graduate of Jim Hill High School in Jackson Public Schools, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Millsaps College and Master of Education in Human Development & Psychology from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Treshika has also completed multiple state and national social justice and leadership fellowships. While she is particularly passionate about education and mental health, Treshika also considers herself to be very serious about all thing’s red velvet and generally cooking and enjoying really good food. 

Ebony Brown

Community Specialist – Skyview

Ebony was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and considers herself a mix of a city girl and a country girl. She received her BSW in 2018 from Delta State University and has been working in the community through mental health and educational avenues. Her passion is helping others find their voice and believes life has a crazy way of challenging you to bring out the strongest version of yourself. She is a self-described “goal-getter”. In her free time, she loves watching new movies or TV series and shopping. 

Latasha Davis

Community Specialist – Dauphin Gate

Latasha grew up in a military family and generally traveled every few years to various areas of the world, but settled in her teens to Mobile, AL. After obtaining her B.A. in Business from Faulkner University, she continued her education and attained an M.A. in Human Resources and Health Administration at Trident University International. Latasha has over 20 years of community experience in diverse areas of the city and government and loves to help others express themselves through various types of dance. Latasha attributes her passion for helping others to having to continually challenge herself to evolve as she moved around with her military family. Latasha believes challenges in life are an opportunity to grow, and it is her purpose to assist others to be the best version of themselves. Through one’s own growth, the impact spills over to others and can make an impact around the world. If she could be summarized in one slogan, it would say “people are my passion and purpose is the goal.”

Natasha Gilbert

Community Specialist – The Village

Natasha is a native of Jackson, MS. Her educational background consists of a B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies from Mississippi State University and a Master’s in Public Health from Jackson State University. Natasha has over 8 years of experience in mental health along with 2 years in positive youth development. In her spare time, she enjoys online shopping where she constantly puts items in her cart that she may not purchase! Natasha is passionate about empowering individuals! She looks forward to continue providing services to the community by connecting them to resources and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Her favorite quote by Mahatma Gandhi is “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

Julia Kunis

Project Associate

Julia completed her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at Hunter College, focusing her studies on Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology. Interning with the New York Academy of Sciences: Anthropology Section, she worked with leading anthropologists in the nation to deliver a speaker series for the 2018-2019 academic year. Upon completion of her thesis in Linguistic Anthropology, she was awarded the Excellence in Anthropology award and received departmental honors for her dedicated work to the field.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree in May of 2019, Julia took a leap of faith and moved to Jackson, Mississippi to begin her career in the nonprofit sector.

She currently serves as the Project Associate for Springboard To Opportunities. Previously, she served as the Constituent Services and Support Coordinator for the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits & Philanthropy. In her role, she worked with nonprofits across Mississippi to grow their organizational capacity, connect nonprofits with resources, and work to encourage cross-sector collaboration. There, she gained a deep understanding of the Mississippi nonprofit/philanthropic sector. To start off her time in Mississippi, she worked with the Institute of Southern Jewish Life for two years, where she served Jewish communities across a 13-state region. She implemented and created programming, a K-12 and adult curriculum, and led religious services in each of her 14 communities as an Education Fellow.

Julia is driven by her sense of community. She believes that if we act together locally, we can achieve a strong global impact. She is now an active citizen in the Jackson community. She became Chair of Beth Israel Congregation’s Tikkun Olam Committee, currently serves as a Board Member at the Southern Jewish Resource Network (SOJOURN), and actively seeks ways in which she can get more involved with the communities of Mississippi, and the South at large. Her goal is to be a change-agent in the state of Mississippi, working alongside organizations that are yearning to see a brighter tomorrow.

Kerstin Miller

Project Associate

Kerstin is a recent transplant to Hattiesburg Mississippi, having previously lived in Washington her whole life. She graduated from Western Washington University with her B.A. in Political Science and German Language, and is currently pursuing her TESOL certificate from USM. Kerstin is dedicated to systemic change, and is excited to be working with a non-profit that is also dedicated to that ideal. Outside of work, she is excited for the opportunity to explore a new part of the world.

Shelica Robinson

Community Specialist – Commonwealth Village

Shelica Robinson is a native of Greenville, MS. She attended Alcorn State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Shelica has great experience with community outreach and utilizing interpersonal skills as she has worked with various populations including those with STD/HIV, adults with developmental disabilities, expectant mothers and individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Outside of work she is a coach’s wife and mother of two children, a boy and a girl. Shelica enjoys movies, music, and dancing! Her love language is “acts of service”, and she does not shy away from volunteer work or being an open vessel to those she meets. Shelica believes that all acts and thoughts have a reason and purpose, whether negative or positive. There is always room to grow!

Andrea Slaughter

Community Specialist – Northwood Village and Lincoln Garden

Andrea Slaughter serves as a Community Specialist for Springboard To Opportunities. She is a native of Chicago and holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Richard J. Daley College and Bachelor Degree in Illustration and Design from Illinois Institute of Art. She has substantial background working with nonprofit organizations in low income areas. Also, multiple years of experience as an art teacher with Chicago Public Schools and various community advocacy organizations. Andrea is driven and motivated. She strives to encourage everyone around her to be their best self. 

Julianne Tharp

Executive Assistant

Julianne is a native of Vicksburg, MS, but now resides in the Jackson area with her husband, three dogs and one cat. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and is currently pursuing her master’s degree from Samford University. Her passion for serving others has led her through volunteering and organizing roles in many local and national nonprofit organizations. Julianne’s work with Springboard and the Guaranteed Income Community of Practice includes providing support wherever she is needed most. She is driven to create positive change in every space she can and truly believes, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” 

Demarius Tolliver

Project Associate

Demarius holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Jackson State University and has worked in community and residential social services over the last seven years in the Jackson-Metro area. He was also a part of the student social work association at Jackson State University. His experience also includes work in staff training and development highlighting his leadership abilities with new and tenured staff as well as promoting the overall growth of an agency. Outside of work, Demarius is an avid runner in which he loves to run marathons and to work out in his spare time. Shopping and spending time with his close friends is something that he loves to do the most. Demarius lives by the mantra of “the knowledge you gain is something that can never be taken from you, so keep learning and evolving.”

Anita Williams

Community Specialist – Madonna Manor

Anita is a native of Jackson, Mississippi. Anita has an educational background in social and human services receiving her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Jackson State University and her Master’s in Human and Social Services with a specialization in administration from Walden University. Anita has 20 plus years of experience divided in the areas of social services and mental health. Anita continues to stand strong in believing everyone can use a helping hand at some time in their life and the hand extended should be one of compassion with a desire to help others.  

Board of Directors

Marjorie Sims

Chair – Board of Directors

Marjorie has more than 20 years of experience in advancing the status of women and families at local, state, national, and international levels. She formerly served as program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with a specific focus on family economic security programs and managed a $65M grant portfolio. Prior to joining the Kellogg Foundation, Sims held the positions of chief operating officer, interim president, and vice president of programs and operations at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. During her tenure in Washington, Sims helped launch Stepping Stones, a $5 million, multi-year, regional initiative to increase the income and assets of women-headed families. Stepping Stones received national recognition as a model public-private partnership. In addition, Sims served as the executive director of the California Women’s Law Center and as a policy analyst with the International Center for Research on Women. She is a co-founder of Women’s Policy, Inc., an organization that emerged from the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues to provide unbiased analyses and educational briefings about federal legislation affecting women and families. Sims has additional expertise in expanding women’s philanthropy and managing leadership transitions.

Carter Smith

Treasurer – Board of Directors

Carter Smith is the Founder of Profit Smart. He brings over 15 years of experience from working with two Fortune 500 companies to having owned his own small business. His expertise in operations and finance provide his clients with a deep knowledge base in financial strategy that will fit multiple organizational sizes, styles and structures. He founded Profit Smart as a means to more deeply engage with his clients and their business. Carter earned his Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of Mississippi and graduated Magna Cum Laude with his Masters in Business Administration from Mississippi State University. Carter is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Valuation Analyst. Carter is an associate member of the Law Practice Management section of the American Bar Association. Carter is a native of Batesville, MS and currently resides in Jackson with his wife, Cassie, and their four children.

Kelly Butler

Board of Directors

Kelly Butler is the Chief Executive Officer of The Barksdale Reading Institute (BRI). The Institute’s literacy work encompasses early childhood and parenting for school readiness, professional development for PK-3 teachers and literacy coaches, improving teacher preparation for early literacy instruction, and developing literacy leaders. Kelly spearheaded BRI’s development of The Reading Universe©, a detailed scope and sequence for training teachers on how to deliver sequential, systemic, explicit reading instruction ( She is the author of two statewide studies and developed a subsequent statewide initiative to improve teacher preparation programs focused on early literacy instruction in Mississippi’s 15 public and private universities. A former high school teacher in the Greenwich, Connecticut Public Schools, Ms. Butler holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from The University of Alabama and a master’s degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University. She serves by appointment to the Governor’s Task Force on Teacher Preparation for Early Literacy Instruction and the State Reading Panel. She is a founding member of the Higher Education Literacy Council of Mississippi, a founding member of the Affinity Group of Education Grantmakers, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Southeast Regional Educational Lab (SE/REL). Recent advocacy work includes spearheading an informal coalition to develop a state-by-state strategy for improving educational policy specific to teacher preparation. Ms. Butler lives in Jackson with her husband, Thorne. They have five daughters.

Trené Hawkins

Board of Directors

Trené Hawkins, a program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, works to ensure philanthropic capital is deployed in the most strategic, equitable, and impactful ways possible. Trené spent her early years at RWJF shaping key efforts for the Foundation’s innovation portfolio, expanding the team’s networks and orienting grantmaking practice and programming to more intentionally ad-vance equity. Trené’s work currently focuses on the equitable distribution of re-sources for parents, caregivers and their children and families’ inclusion in the U.S. economy.

In addition, Trené is deeply involved in shaping RWJF’s grantmaking practices and organizational culture to advance equity. Trené holds degrees from Princeton University, Rutgers – The State University of NJ, and The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. She’s a lifelong New Jersey resident, avid baker, and loves fashion, basketball, and travel.

Darren Isom

Board of Directors

Darren Isom is a partner in The Bridgespan Group’s San Francisco office. He first joined the firm as a consultant in 2007, left as a manager in 2014 and returned as a partner in 2019. During his earlier tenure with Bridgespan, Darren was engaged with a diverse array of cases and was consistently lauded for building deep, enduring client relationships, helping clients develop bold yet pragmatic strategies, and his commitment to amplifying community voice and engagement in developing and leading innovative, high-impact youth and community programs, practices, and philanthropy. After leaving Bridgespan in 2014, Darren was the founder and executive director of the Memphis Music Initiative (MMI), an ambitious five-year, $20M grantmaking and community arts development initiative. He led efforts to use targeted investments and programmatic offerings to strengthen youth and community music engagement activities for low-income, Black, and Latino youth and communities. A seventh generation New Orleans native, Darren is a graduate of Howard University, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, and Columbia Business School’s Institute for Nonprofit Management. An activist for disconnected youth and LGBT communities of color, he has served as an advisor to the leaders of several Bay Area, Southeast US, and national foundations. He currently also serves on the board of Beloved Community of New Orleans, Collage Dance Collective of Memphis, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

Ira Murray

Board of Directors

Dr. Ira E. Murray was named President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of the Capital Area, Inc. in July of 2018. Prior to that, Dr. Murray began his United Way career in 2005 as a Jackson-based National Community Fellow with United Way of America. Upon the end of his fellowship, Dr. Murray agreed to remain in Jackson as the director and eventually vice president of community impact at United Way of the Capital Area, a position he held until 2014. During his tenure, Dr. Murray led the organization’s transition from a traditional pass-through organization to one that focused on addressing large-scale community issues through community and collective impact partnerships.

Dr. Murray earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University, a Master of Education degree from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and a Doctor of Philosophy in education from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Murray is an education scholar, writer, and advocate with expertise in issues of race, equity, and achievement in urban schools, districts, and communities.

Dr. Murray is currently a member of 100 Black Men of Jackson, the United Way Worldwide Equity Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors of Excel by 5 and the Mississippi Early Learning Alliance. Dr. Murray is also a member in good standing of the American Educational Research Association.

Dr. Murray is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the 2019 Early Career Alumni Award by the University of Pittsburgh School of Edu-cation and being named a 2013 Mississippi Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 business leader

Michelle Whetten

Chair – Board of Directors

Michelle Whetten is vice president and Gulf Coast market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. Michelle leads Enterprise’s work to create and support effective systems and tools for high quality affordable housing production, attract private-sector capital and strengthen the affordable housing industry. Prior to her assignment in the Gulf Coast, Michelle was deputy director for Enterprise’s New York office, where she led neighborhood initiatives and public policy efforts. In that role, Michelle managed organizational development, resident services-related technical assistance and grant making programs, and directed advocacy and outreach to local, state and federal officials on housing and community development issues. Michelle serves as chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Advisory Council and on the boards of Reconcile New Orleans, Louisiana Housing Alliance, Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation and the Mississippi Association of Affordable Housing Providers. She is past president and current executive committee member of the board of the Louisiana Association of Affordable Housing Providers.

Carol Wishcamper

Board of Directors

Carol Wishcamper has three decades of experience as a leader in the education and non-profit sectors. She has developed an organizational development consulting practice focused on capacity building offering services in strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, conflict management and communication skills ( She lives in Freeport, Maine with her husband Joe, a developer of affordable housing. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

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