Community Schools, For the Media

The NEA Foundation Awards Funding to Support the Development of Community Schools in Rural Mississippi

The NEA Foundation Awards Funding to Support the Development of Community Schools in Rural Mississippi

Washington, DC (January 24, 2023) – The NEA Foundation announced today that it has awarded a $75,000 grant to Quitman County Development Organization in Marks, Miss., to support the organization’s work, in partnership with Quitman County Public Schools, to develop high-quality community schools in rural Mississippi.

“An investment in community schools is an investment in establishing equity for all students and closing opportunity gaps in public schools,” said Sara A. Sneed, president and CEO of The NEA Foundation. “This is especially critical in the South, where more than half of the country’s Black students live and the philanthropic community has directed only a small fraction of its funding. The NEA Foundation is proud to invest in building and sustaining community schools in rural Mississippi and to support the work of such dedicated partners.”

The new grant is designed to strengthen emerging and established partnerships building rural community schools that over time can serve as demonstration sites for others throughout the Mid-South region and beyond. Quitman County schools and the Quitman County Development Organization and partners will join local organizations throughout Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi who comprise the Southern Regional Alliance for Community Schools (SRACS), a coalition convened by The NEA Foundation to bring together public education and community leaders to advance the community schools strategy in the South.

“We have a profound opportunity in Mississippi to transform our education system through community schools,” said Sen. Robert L. Jackson (11th District). “This investment from The NEA Foundation also is fundamental to developing more community schools throughout the state and ensuring every student has access to a quality education.”

“I am encouraged and inspired by the emerging partnerships and collaboration in the development of community schools in Quitman County,” Dr. Fredrick Robinson, superintendent of Quitman County Public Schools. “The NEA Foundation’s guidance, expertise, and resources related to community schools have helped us to jumpstart important work that will benefit our students for years to come.”

In 2023, Quitman County Development Organization and Quitman County Schools will leverage The NEA Foundation’s financial support to further develop Quitman County Schools as community schools. The Foundation grant will help both to accomplish the following:

  • Further establish a partnership of stakeholders that can serve as a community schools planning team
  • Deepen their teams’ understanding of community school standards, models, and practices
  • Conduct assessments, identifying the primary needs and interests of the students, families, and educators in the area to be served
  • Complete an environmental scan to identify local and state policies and family, school, and community partner skill sets
  • Produce a work plan for implementing full service community schools
  • Create a related implementation budget that includes initial start-up costs as well as the costs of implementation over time

To learn more about community schools and SRACS, and to understand the impact happening on the ground, visit


Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out in our name. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a national philanthropic organization that invests in educators’ leadership, shared learning and collaboration; supports partnerships and initiatives that strengthen public education; and promotes improvements in public education policy and practice. Find us at, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.