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.
Peggy Linton, CCD, GPA, began her position as community development director with the Community Foundation in 2006. She manages the application process and distribution of all grants from the Foundation to over 420 nonprofits, serving as resource to these organizations. Peggy has over 30 years’ experience in grant writing, research, and management as well as community development. Past work experiences include DeSoto County Economic Development Council and City of Olive Branch as the community development director.
In addition to her work, Peggy volunteers her time and skills to local non-profits seeking training and support in grant writing/management, capacity building, and fundraising. Peggy is married to Jimmy, has two daughters and has five grandchildren.
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.
Anna Dickerson has served as the Director of Volunteer Northwest Mississippi, a program of the Community Foundation, since 2011. As director, Anna works to improve community engagement across northwest Mississippi. She graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University in Political Science. She graduated magna cum laude from Law School at the University of Mississippi. Dickerson worked in the legal field in Memphis where she specialized in family law.
Anna serves as the Chair for the Mississippi Volunteer Center Association and serves on two nonprofit boards within the community. She still practices as an attorney in Tennessee on pro bono family law matters on a limited basis and is an active volunteer with the “Attorney of the Day” program for Memphis. When not working in her community, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and their two dogs.
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 is 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.
Jessica Watts has worked as the Marketing & Administrative Assistant for the Community Foundation since October 2016. Jessica works to increase visibility of the Foundation through social media platforms, keeps the website updated, coordinates the annual Shoot for the Heart event and assist the Foundation in Crystal Ball Sponsorships.
Jessica grew up in Arlington, Tennessee and earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in the field of Marketing from UT Martin. She also earned a Masters of Arts in Missiology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is married to Jarrod Watts and has 2 sons.