Woodward Hines Education Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports college access, college completion, and community colleges in the state of Mississippi. WHEF invites information about grant seekers’ work related to two-year, four-year, apprenticeship, and certification programs.

FUNDING AREAS: College access, community colleges, college completion

IP TAKE: WHEF prioritizes community college student retention and completion. Grant seekers should pitch an idea about how community colleges can continue to level the playing field for low-income and minority students.  

PROFILE: The Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) is based in Jackson, Mississippi, and supports postsecondary education in Mississippi. It seeks “to help more Mississippians obtain postsecondary credentials, college certificates, and degrees that lead to meaningful employment.” This is the foundation of Jack Woodward, who created a secondary market for student loans in the state, as banks were reluctant to provide such loans. Woodward teamed up with J. Herman Hines and created the Mississippi Higher Education Assistance Corporation and later the Education Services Foundation in 1995. The foundation’s current name was announced in 2017 to honor the work of these two men.

WHEF supports groups that help Mississippians obtain postsecondary credentials, certifications, and degrees that lead to quality employment. Increased college access, college persistence, and college completion are all important to this funder. The foundation’s signature program is called Get2College, which provides college access services in Jackson, Ocean Springs, and Southaven. Through its access to employment program, WHEF seeks to bridge the gap between postsecondary institutions and employers. Funding also supports organizations that improve the first-year experience at both two-year and four-year schools.

WHEF partners with Achieving the Dream, a network of over 222 institutions nationwide that helps community college students succeed. The foundation has funded local community colleges Coahama Community College and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College with $900,000 of capacity-building support over four years. It has also partnered with the State Financial Aid Department to help the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning develop an interactive and collaborative website to increase engagement and be a resource for K-12 and postsecondary audiences. WHEF has also supported the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, which has 34 chapters in 15 Mississippi community colleges, contributing to scholarships that go to low-income Mississippi community college students.

Grant eligibility requires organizations to serve communities in Mississippi; however, grants are not made to K-8 programs, high school drop-out programs, athletic events, music trips, or individuals requesting scholarship assistance. There is no application form on the funder’s website, but it encourages interested groups to contact the staff by email about work that aligns with WHEF’s funding priorities.

The foundation president is Jim McHale, who hails from Kellogg. The foundation staff can be reached with general questions at info@woodwardhines.org or (601) 321-5555. The best email address for grantseekers is grants@woodwardhines.org. The address is 2600 Lakeland Terrace, Jackson, Mississippi, 39216. Keep up with this funder through its blog.


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