The following individuals, alongside our Board of Directors, are committed to covering all operating costs. Their investment guarantees that every cent of every dollar invested into Slingshot's IMPACT FUND will directly impact our city's highest-performing poverty alleviating programs.
Principal Seed Funder
Our Board of Directors supports the work of Slingshot Memphis and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance. It is this distinguished group of leaders whose strategic decision-making and guidance steer the organization.
Meg is a founding Principal of PeopleCap Advisors, a boutique firm specializing in helping leaders drive results through their people. She is a strategic advisor to CEOs, Boards and Investors and a recognized thought leader in people strategy, organizational culture, and organizational growth. Meg also serves as a member of the Board of Diversified Trust, a comprehensive wealth management firm based in Memphis with offices across the Southeast. A passionate advocate for Memphis, Meg currently serves on the boards of Rhodes College, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, The T.W. Briggs Foundation, and The Kitchen Communities. She is also a founding board member of the forthcoming and highly innovative Crosstown High School, an XQ Future School.
Tommie S. Dunavant has lived in Memphis for almost thirty years, and during that time she has devoted herself to serving her community in a variety of ways. She has served on the Boards of Christian Brothers University, Rhodes College, and the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses. Through their work at The Dunavant Foundation, where she is head, Tommie and her husband Billy actively support many causes and organizations in Memphis. They are particularly proud of the new Tommie Dunavant Behavioral Center at the Church Health Center, which is a reflection of their shared philanthropic interests in Memphis, as well as Tommie's professional career as a clinical psychologist. In that capacity, Tommie has earned doctoral degrees in both psychology and theology.
Tom is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he primarily serves healthcare institutions and governments on a range of strategic, organizational, and operational issues. Tom leads McKinsey's Advanced Analytics practice in North America and founded and leads its Healthcare Analytics group globally. Tom is a member of the Center for Corporate Innovation's Healthcare CEO Roundtable and speaks regularly at healthcare venues; including recently the National Association of Medicaid Directors, AHIP, and the National Governor's Association. Tom also has authored several publications including "The Trillion Dollar Prize: Using Payment to Drive Cost-Reducing Innovations." Tom has helped multiple social institutions on strategic and operational issues, including Habitat for Humanity and the United Way. Tom is also a member of the Board of Directors of Mercy Ships International and advises several social institutions in Memphis, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and three school-aged children. Tom holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with highest honors, from the University of Michigan Business School, where he concentrated in finance and computer information systems.
Harriet is a lifelong Memphian who believes Memphis can be a better place for all its citizens. She is a founder of the Children’s Museum of Memphis with the mission of promoting a curiosity in learning through hands on activities and play. Her roles there included board membership, fundraising and directing search committees. Currently she serves on the boards of the Hugo Dixon Foundation, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, and the Children’s Foundation of Memphis. The Children’s Foundation supports a research center at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital as well as programs in Memphis that affect the health and well-being of children.
Gretchen Wollert McLennon is the President and Founder of DI Studios, a local consulting company. Previously, she served the Hyde Family Foundations from 2007 to 2017. As Program Director for Authentic Assets, her work focused on managing the arts & culture and innovation portfolios, as well as the leadership programming of the Foundations. The Hyde Family Foundations’ senior staff works closely with grantees to provide ongoing guidance around such areas as strategic and long-range planning, organizational capacity building, project management, and development and fundraising activities. Prior to her work with the Hyde family, Gretchen was a Major Gifts Officer for Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) and a Donor Relations Officer for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. With over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector, Gretchen regularly presents on panels and at conferences on issues related to city-building, contemporary trends in grantmaking, and equity in the arts. A native Memphian, Gretchen is a graduate of Northwestern (BA) and Wake Forest (MBA) universities.
Eric Robertson is President of Community LIFT, an organization that plays a critical role in helping Memphis to become a City of Choice, by concentrating human capital, economic and community development resources, and efforts in distressed neighborhoods for maximum effect. LIFT engages citizens at large, neighborhood residents, the business community, government, schools, foundations, non-profits and the faith-based community to build greater Memphis neighborhoods. Eric has over 17 years of experience in the fields of Economic and Community Development. His extensive involvement and commitment to the city he loves include serving on the boards of the Soulsville Foundation and the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Memphis Branch Board of Directors. Eric received an Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Memphis College of Arts & Sciences, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Urban Studies.
Will is a principal at NFC Investments, a registered investment advisor that specializes in insurance companies. Will serves on the board of directors of WT Holdings, Inc, a holding company that controls Stillwater Insurance Company, ProAlliance Corporation, and Tri-State Insurance Company. He also serves on the board of directors of Knox Holdings, National Fire and Casualty Company, Corrisoft and the Memphis/Shelby County Sports Authority Board. Will is a CFA charterholder and has a BS in commerce from the University of Virginia.
Justin joined Slingshot Memphis in September 2016 and currently serves as its CEO. Prior to launching Slingshot Memphis, Justin worked as a Giving Strategist, where he helped individuals, families and businesses develop, target and maximize charitable investments. Preceding this work, Justin was a member of the Fixed Income Division at Morgan Keegan/Raymond James. Servicing financial institutions and municipalities, Justin specialized in developing portfolio strategies and executing trades in fixed income securities. Earlier in his career, Justin was an educator at St. George’s Independent School, where he served as Dean of Students, Associate Director of Counseling, Teacher, Coach, and Chaplain. Justin holds a Master of Divinity from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Memphis.
Our Ex-Officio Board of Directors advance Slingshot's mission with a degree of influence and expertise that substantially benefits the organization.
Our Impact Council is a diverse group of ambassadors who share a passionate commitment for Slingshot Memphis's mission to to disrupt poverty. Council members work closely with Slingshot Memphis's board and staff to spread awareness and accelerate the fight against poverty in Memphis.
Christopher Capel has worked with Communities In Schools for over a decade. He has served in many capacities within the organization including Site Coordinator with the Charlotte Affiliate, plus Student Support Specialist Coach, Talent Development Coordinator, and Quality Improvement manager for Communities In Schools of NC to name a few. He joined the Communities In Schools of Memphis team in July 2017 as the Director of Collective Impact and Continuous Quality Improvement. In this position, Christopher plays an instrumental role in strengthening partnerships to have significant positive impacts on the citizens of Memphis.
Hunter Cowan is a Fixed Income Broker at Raymond James and Associates, where he specializes in financial strategies for institutions. Hunter currently serves on the Board of Trustees at St. George's Independent School and the Memphis Chapter Committee for Ducks Unlimited. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Business Administration. Hunter and his wife, Miller Crenshaw Cowan, are native Memphians and members at Calvary Episcopal Church.
Dorothy Austin Cox developed the desire for being a community advocate for change early in life. In her current role she works diligently to connect a prominent, private, liberal arts college to those who reside in the nearby mixed-race Midtown North Community. Her work, often referred to as a ministry, has been an instrumental force in building relationships between the two, community stakeholders, and outside partners. Dorothy prides herself in serving mankind as a bodacious and powerful conduit and catalyst for humanity's transformation to disrupt poverty through compassion and education.
As President of cityCURRENT, Park directs the team of more than 75 businesses, including some of the world's largest employers, like FedEx, AutoZone, Cummins, Flex, and Smith & Nephew, that host more than 150 events each year, along with an array of positive-oriented media and philanthropic initiatives to enrich and impact the community. Park executive produces and hosts the ChangeMakers podcast, the cityCURRENT Radio Show across the Cumulus Media Memphis radio network, and the television series, The SPARK. Park is also a Member of the LLC with Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, LLC, a contributor to Forbes, and the author of the books, Giving Back with Purpose and Giving for Growth.
Darren Thomas II currently works as a Development Officer at Porter-Leath. Previously, he worked for Rhodes College, where he provided strategic guidance for leadership donors to the College. Concurrently, he also serves as Young Adult Minister and Director of Media and Marketing at St. Andrew A.M.E. Church. He serves on the Board of Directors for Our Grass Our Roots, a local grassroots nonprofit organization in the North Memphis community. He graduated from Rhodes College with a degree in Commerce and Business. Darren is married to Michalyn Easter-Thomas, an executive director and founder of a local nonprofit organization and high school educator.
Our consultants are experts in their respected fields who serve as trusted advisors to Slingshot's Board of Directors and Team.
Nick is the creator of Core Metrics, the framework Tipping Point utilizes to measure and accelerate poverty fighting methods and organizations. Prior to joining Tipping Point Community, Nick was an Orfalea Fellow at the William J. Clinton Foundation in Harlem, where he worked on domestic programs focused on entrepreneurship and helping individuals gain access to the financial mainstream. He earned his M.P.A. from the University of Southern California and his B.A. in Political Science from Sonoma State University. He has worked as an Analyst at Wildan Financial Services and a Project Coordinator at the Sonoma Economic Development Board. Nick states, "I believe the difference between poverty and a brighter future is usually dependent on the existence of opportunity. I joined the Tipping Point Community because I'm dedicated to helping create more opportunities for individuals in the Bay Area."
Elena Delavega, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Memphis, where she teaches Social Welfare Policy, Advanced Community Practice, and Poverty. Drawing on her strengths in the areas of policy analysis, economics, and statistics, and grounded in the values and ethics of the profession of social work, her work contributes to the overall goal of understanding, addressing, and eliminating poverty and all forms of exclusion from a macro perspective. Some projects include the Hooks African American Male Initiative, the Earned Income Tax Credit project, the mindset of poverty, and collaborative research on LGBT rights and social work, on rural and urban differentials in income and outcomes, and on the effects of housing on extremely poor women infected with HIV. Additionally, she created the Memphis Poverty Fact Sheet, updated every year, which has been cited extensively in local and national media. Dr. Delavega also serves as Associate Director of the Hooks Institute for Social Change.
Julie is the CEO of the New Coast Foundation, a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund focused on fighting poverty in Chicago. Prior to joining New Coast, she was the Illinois Executive Director at America Needs You, where she led the national organization's growth and programming in Illinois. She has also served as Managing Director + Head of Advancement of A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund that provides funding and management support to a portfolio of high-performing education nonprofits, and the Director of Development and Communications for Cara Chicago. Julie earned her bachelor's degree in sociology and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and an MBA in international management with a focus on corporate social responsibility from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Liam founded A Better Chicago in 2010 and serves as its CEO. Prior to launching A Better Chicago, he spent ten years in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, he was a management consultant at Bain & Company. Prior to Bain, Liam worked at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, where he was a member of the programs team. Earlier in his career, he worked in the investment banking group of William Blair & Company and in the development office of ACCION USA. Liam has a BA in history from Dartmouth College and an MBA in finance and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Stinson Liles is the Director of Communications for the Alliance for Early Success, a national advocacy group that pushes for policies at the state level that promote early childhood health, learning, and well-being. Prior to this role, Stinson worked for 15 years as a brand and campaign development advisor for national nonprofits, and was engaged by a long list of causes, organizations, and associations — including the National League of Cities, College for America, Youth Villages, No Kid Hungry, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, LIVESTRONG, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the American Red Cross.
Alongside her work as a co-founder and board member at Lever Fund, Jeannette is President of Woodside Park Strategies in Silver Spring, MD. Jeannette specializes in creating and implementing integrated advocacy and communications campaigns and messages that make complex issues understandable to the public. Jeannette has applied her skills in strategy and mobilization to issues as diverse as health care and children's health, reproductive rights, employee benefit packages, poverty, child welfare, and workers' rights. For over two decades Jeannette has worked with non-profits, political campaigns, members of Congress, foundations, and labor unions. Through these groups, she gained the insight and the perspective to speak effectively to key audiences and knowledge of how to most successfully reach them.
Lynn is a former Shelby County Schools teacher and soon-to-be corporate attorney at Husch Blackwell LLP. During her time in the classroom, Lynn observed how inequitable access to transportation, healthcare, and more impacted her students, slowing academic growth in the classroom. Her realization that quality education was not the panacea for generational poverty coincided with the founding of Slingshot. She found hope in Slingshot’s holistic approach, believing that poverty can only be eradicated when we analyze the root causes and use data to guide investments. Lynn holds her M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University and will earn her J.D. from The University of Tennessee in 2020. She received the UT Outstanding Pro Bono Contribution Award for the Class of 2020, earned sponsorship from the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission to support a self-started clinic, and sits as the only student on the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Immigration Taskforce.
Anne Sherman is Vice President, Nonprofit Strategy at Growth Philanthropy Network. Before GPN, she was Director of Strategy at TCC Group, a consultancy that assists nonprofits, foundations, and corporate community involvement programs. Prior to TCC Group, she was community initiatives manager at Minneapolis Way To Grow, a citywide school-readiness initiative. Sherman holds a Master's degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs. Her volunteer work includes serving as chair of the governing body of the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and as a member of the board of SCO Family of Services. She also serves on the selection committee of the New York Community Trust-New York Magazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards. Sherman is the co-author of "Building Nonprofit Capacity: A Guide to Managing Change Through Organizational Lifecycles," published in 2011 by Jossey-Bass.
Prior to joining Slingshot in December 2016, Yoan worked on international development programs to alleviate poverty and to accelerate the growth and diversification of Sub-Saharan African economies through the advancement of science, technology, and engineering education. He began his professional career at the World Bank where he contributed to the establishment of the Nelson Mandela Institution and the African Institute of Science and Technology. He then went on to found his own nonprofit organization, ACTE, in Gabon to help address local education challenges by leveraging innovations in technology with a focus on improving science and mathematics education. Yoan has degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, as well as a Masters of Education from Harvard and an MBA from Yale. He serves as an honorary member in several international organizations including the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (PASET).
Doug joined the Slingshot team in December 2016. Having spent most of his career as an academic economist, most recently at the University of Memphis, where he was also Director of the Center for Economic Education, Doug brings to the team years of experience in research, consulting, data management and development, community engagement, and non-profit administration. He is also a talented educator and excels in explaining economics to a variety of audiences. While at the University of Memphis, he won nearly every teaching award the University had to offer, and was the inaugural winner of the SPARK Award in the Educator category, in 2014. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from Georgia State University and a BBA in Economics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Safiya joined the Slingshot Memphis team June 2019 for a 10-week summer fellowship. Prior to joining Slingshot, Safiya began her career at her alma mater, the University of Chicago, as an Admissions Counselor on the Equity and Access Programming team. Safiya's responsibility within the Office of College Admissions quickly grew to include overseeing and expanding the University's outreach and scholarship programs for low-income, rural, under-represented students of color, Chicago Public School students, and first-generation college students. Safiya's passion for expanding affordable post-secondary pathways for low-income students of all ages stems from her intimate exposure to racial/ethnic, neighborhood, socioeconomic, and educational inequality growing up on the South Side of Chicago. She has an A.B. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University.
Sophie joined Slingshot Memphis in November 2018. She came to Slingshot from CG42, a boutique consulting firm in New York City, where she developed her career as a Strategy Consultant. As a strategist, Sophie helped Fortune 500 clients in technology, retail, automotive and insurance to identify opportunities to unleash their potential for success. Sophie brings the rigor of data analytics and empathy of professional services from Management Consulting to Slingshot. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science, where she specialized in Human decision processes and behavioral economics. She is originally from Seoul, Korea.
Justin joined Slingshot Memphis in September 2016 and currently serves as its CEO. Prior to launching Slingshot Memphis, Justin worked as a Giving Strategist, where he helped individuals, families, and businesses develop, target and maximize charitable investments. Preceding this work, Justin was a member of the Fixed Income Division at Morgan Keegan/Raymond James. Servicing financial institutions and municipalities, Justin specialized in developing portfolio strategies and executing trades in fixed income securities. Earlier in his career, Justin was an educator at St. George's Independent School, where he served as Dean of Students, Associate Director of Counseling, Teacher, Coach and Chaplain. Justin holds a Master of Divinity from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Memphis.
Juanita joined Slingshot Memphis in June 2019. She began her career working with grass root foundations in Latin America, moving on to work with larger inter-governmental organizations like UNICEF and then well-known nonprofits in the United States including United Way Worldwide and ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Juanita brings non-profit strategy and business planning, capacity building, fundraising training, and consulting experience to Slingshot. She holds an Executive Masters in Business Administration from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brown University, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.
Elizabeth joined Slingshot in May 2018. Prior to joining the team, Elizabeth worked in development at Porter-Leath, raising funds to impact the organization's six programs that serve over 50,000 children and families in Shelby County, including the Preschool program and the Books from Birth program that both promote kindergarten readiness. In Washington, D.C., while Elizabeth worked at Sidwell Friends School in the Institutional Advancement Office, she held several positions serving as the Director of Leadership Giving, Director of Alumni Annual Giving and Assistant Director of Annual Funds. She began her career working in development at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Elizabeth attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Art History.
Chris joined Slingshot Memphis in September 2018. He came to Slingshot from the Midwest Health Collaborative (MHC), a healthcare non-profit comprised of five hospital systems focused on reducing healthcare costs for Ohioans. Prior to MHC, Chris worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, serving clients across the healthcare, non-profit, and public sectors. Chris previously served as the CEO of the Hilltop Microfinance Initiative and as an Eileen Granville Fellow for Pelotonia, a non-profit that raised more than $150 million in its first nine years to fund cancer research at The Ohio State University. Chris studied International Political Economy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He is originally from Columbus, Ohio.