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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.

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

Project Associate

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

Senior 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!

Demarius Tolliver

Community Specialist – The Village

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.”

Sara Upendo

Special Assistant to the CEO

Sara serves Springboard To Opportunities as the Special Assistant to the CEO. She has worked within the administrative field for over six years and continues to pursue excellence through her work supporting Springboard and the Guaranteed Income Community of Practice. She is currently pursuing her Associate degree at Holmes Community College. 

Sara was born and raised in Flora, Mississippi and now lives in Brandon with her husband and two young daughters. She attributes her passion for organization to growing up in a family of six children with a single mother. Now, when time allows, Sara spends her time workshopping gluten-free baking recipes and exploring the states with her always energetic family.

Tremya White

Community Specialist – Northwood Village and Lincoln Garden

Tremya is a native of the Mississippi Delta and enjoys connecting people to resources that are available to them. She chose the Social Work field because it is her passion and she wants to be the voice, as well as an advocate, for the population that feels like their voice is not heard. Her goal is to help and assist as many people as possible so that they are able to reach their goals as well as thrive within their community.

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.

Nakimuli Davis-Primer

Board of Directors

Nakimuli’s practice focuses on employment law and commercial litigation.

A large part of Nakimuli’s practice involves partnering with clients to create respectful workplaces that comply with federal, state, and local laws. Nakimuli regularly counsels and advises clients on workplace issues; reviews, revises, and creates employee handbooks and policies that align with the client’s overall mission and goals; creates and conducts training programs for executive leaders and management- and supervisory-level employees; and assesses and evaluates measures that will reduce legal risks associated with employment-related decisions. Clients also call upon Nakimuli to conduct internal investigations and for advice on leave and accommodation issues, termination decisions, pay, and other employment decisions, including guiding employers through reorganizations, reductions in force, restructuring, voluntary buy-out programs, and internal audits of position classification to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

A unique aspect of Nakimuli’s employment practice includes collaborating with clients on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. More specifically, Nakimuli works with clients on various issues ranging from creating and evaluating cultural audits and employee surveys to use to create DEI initiatives and goals, social media policies, D&I policies, and communication strategies surrounding issues relating to DEI. Nakimuli frequently partners with clients to create ongoing training programs that raise awareness of, identify tools and strategies for, and reinforce best practices to create sustainable inclusive workplaces. These measures are critical to increasing employee engagement and reducing legal risk, particularly the risk of harassment and discrimination claims.

In addition to the advice and counsel aspect of her employment practice, Nakimuli also represents clients in litigation and administrative actions, including proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Unemployment Commission, and the Department of Labor. She defends employers in single and multi-plaintiff litigation filed pursuant to various state and federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Section 1981, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Rehabilitation Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Section 1983, the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Nakimuli has extensive experience representing manufacturers as well as higher education institutions on various employment-related issues. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, Nakimuli has counseled and advised employers across numerous industries, including manufacturing, education, banking, health care, and hospitality, on novel issues relating to leaves and accommodations, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), reductions-in-force, furloughs, COVID-19 exposures and diagnosis, hiring, terminations, return-to-work protocols, OSHA compliance, vaccination mandates, and COVID-19 testing issues and concerns.

Nakimuli’s commercial litigation practice involves representing companies on breach of contract, fraud, personal injury, premises liability, intentional torts, and related issues. She has experience representing insurance carriers on breach of insurance policy claims and bad faith claims and in representing the carriers’ corporate insureds in litigation ranging from premises liability, breach of contract, breach of duties of good faith and fair dealing, bad faith, employment, and negligence claims. Nakimuli also has experience reviewing and evaluating insurance policies to assist insurers with making coverage decisions and representing insurers in declaratory judgment actions. Most recently, Nakimuli has gained significant experience litigating federal condemnation actions.

Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Nakimuli was a law clerk to the Honorable Leslie H. Southwick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. As a law clerk, she analyzed complex litigation issues, including the issues she currently handles. Nakimuli currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Mississippi College School of Law, teaching Employment Law. Nakimuli is licensed in both Mississippi and Tennessee.

Elliott Flaggs

Board of Directors

Elliott Flaggs is a principal in Cornerstone Government Affairs’ Jackson, MS office. Elliott advocates for a broad array of client interests pertaining to state and municipal government, budget and appropriations, drafting legislation, business development and public and community relations. Before joining Cornerstone, he served as a special assistant attorney general and legislative liaison for Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

Prior to his work at the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Elliott attended Mississippi State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. After graduation, he was accepted into the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation – Walmart Emerging Leaders Program where he worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). Subsequently, he attended The University of Mississippi School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2012.

Elliott is an active member of the Mississippi Bar Association. He is an incorporator and board member of The First Tee of Central Mississippi, an international youth development organization that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values through character building. Additionally, he is a 2015-16 graduate of Leadership Greater Jackson and served on their board of trustees. Elliott also devotes his time to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mississippi, the American Cancer Society South Region, and Special Olympics of Mississippi as a board member. He is a former member of Jackson Young Lawyers, 100 Black Men of Jackson, Phoenix Club of Jackson and Jackson Professional Group.

Some of Elliott’s awards and honors include being recognized for his community service efforts as an American Cancer Society – Best Dressed Jackson honoree in 2016, a Top Politician and Politico Under 35 in Mississippi by the Clarion Ledger in 2017, a Top 10 Finalist in the Mississippi Business Journal’s 2018 Top 50 Under 40 class and a member of the PORTICO 15 Class of 2019, a statewide recognition for attorneys in Mississippi. He is also a graduate of the Mississippi Bar Leadership Forum Class of 2018. In January 2019, Elliott was recognized as one of Mississippi’s Top 50 Most Influential People. Elliott was recently named to Mississippi State University’s inaugural Reveille 25 which recognizes alumni under 40 years old that are “answering the call” of the university’s mission for educational excellence, and inspiring others through the positive impact they are making in their communities and professions.

Elliott and his daughter, Lianne Marie, reside in Jackson, MS.

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.

Brandon McCall

Board of Directors

Brandon McCall currently works at Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, LLC as a Senior Tax Credit Underwriter focused on the Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Southern California, Detroit and Chicago regions. In this role he is responsible for performing market analyses, ensuring investor rates of return, and getting affordable housing transactions approved by investors and closed into investment funds. Prior to this role, he was the Senior Loan Officer at Enterprise Community Loan Fund focused on leading their lending for the New Generation Fund, MATCH, Golden State Acquisition Fund, and other creative predevelopment and acquisition capital tools. He began his affordable housing career at the Enterprise Community Partners Southern California office as a Research Intern providing support for HUD Section 4 grants, program management for Enterprise’s home ownership program, and conducting a deep dive into the affordable housing needs of South Los Angeles. Post graduate school, he moved to New York City and worked in the private sector as an Assistant Vice President at Citibank, N.A. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the USC Price School of Public Policy in May of 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Dickinson College. He serves as Board Chair of Innovative Housing Opportunities (a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Orange County, California) and is an active member of the Real Estate Executives Forum.

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

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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