The Community Foundation is operated by a staff with diverse expertise and responsibilities. Staff members have experience in accounting, law, business, government, journalism and education as well as philanthropy and non-profits. Staff members are committed to helping donors with their charitable interests and to improving the quality of life for Northwest Mississippians.
Tom Pittman was co-incorporator of the Community Foundation in 2002 and served as its first volunteer chairman before becoming its first full-time president and CEO in 2004. He oversees the growth and operations of the foundation under the direction of the Board of Directors. Previously, he was publisher and editor of the DeSoto Times after serving as general manager and editor of the Daily Journal in Tupelo. During that time, he served as president of the Mississippi Press Association and on the National Newspaper Leadership Council.
Tom serves on the boards of several prominent statewide efforts such as chairing the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers, Entergy Mississippi’s advisory board and a director of Mississippi Today, the state’s non-profit digital news source. He was a charter board member for the DeSoto Arts Council, DeSoto Health and Wellness Center, and the North Mississippi Health Foundation. He previously served on the board of Directors for the CREATE, the community foundation for northeast Mississippi. A native Mississippian, he earned degrees from the University of Mississippi in sociology and Emory University in theology. He is married to Cyndi and has four children.
Theresa Erickson, CME (Certified Marketing Executive), started her career in Community Foundation work in 2009 as the Executive Director of the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation in Hattiesburg, MS. In this role she was responsible for the growth and development of the Foundation as the Foundation’s first Full Time Executive Director. She grew the Foundation from a $1.6 million to a $6 million organization and opened 200 Funds. In 2017 she joined the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi as the Development Director and will oversee the donor relations program, build and execute the development plan and strategically work with other nonprofits to help build their sustainability. In addition, she will implement a planned giving campaign. Prior to working in the nonprofit world, Theresa was the Business Development Officer for Hattiesburg Clinic, with 250 physicians, and was responsible for all marketing, advertising, public relations and physician referral services; she served in this role for twenty years. Theresa received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Lubbock Christian University and a Master’s degree in Communication from Texas Tech University. In addition to work, she enjoys yoga, biking, kayaking, photography and playing with her two dogs.
Carol Smith has been with the foundation since 2007 as Accounting and Office Manager. She oversees the processing of all gifts made to and from the more than 200 funds at the Community Foundation for stewardship and accountability. Additionally, she manages the foundation’s office in Hernando, MS. Prior to joining the foundation staff; she had 30 years of experience in the field of accounting.
Outside of work, Carol enjoys outdoor activities, like bicycling. She was born and raised in Memphis and has lived in DeSoto County since 1990. She has two grown children.
Donna Goldman has worked for the Community Foundation in accounting and as the Director of The Box Project, a program of the Community Foundation, since 2011. As director of the Box Project, a program under the foundation, she oversees the projects work of matching of volunteer sponsors from across the United States with recipient families living in rural poverty. Donna has worked in accounting for over 30 years in such industries as banking, manufacturing, engineering, education, and non-profit organizations.
Donna, a native of Memphis, graduated from Memphis State University (University of Memphis) with a degree in accounting and has been in DeSoto County since 1993. Donna volunteers in various roles with church, school and community programs. She is married to Randy and a mother of two.
Brenda Smith has worked with Volunteer Northwest Mississippi as the Web-Based Volunteer Recruitment Specialist since 2013. She maintains the database for nonprofits and volunteers, as well as visits nonprofits to assist them with using the website effectively. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at Southwest Tennessee Community College with the Department of Business Technology. In addition to teaching, she was involved with special grant programs for Displaced Homemakers and inmates.
She earned an undergraduate degree in retail merchandising from Mississippi University for Women, a Masters of Arts degree in Teaching from the University of Memphis, and additional studies in computer applications and business. She lives in Southaven with her husband A. J. and has one married daughter.