Mike Ward has over 40 years of experience in writing proposals, managing grants and programs, and building nonprofit capacity and philanthropic assets, primarily in the field of rural community and leadership development. A native of Greenville, most of Mike’s work has focused on the development of rural communities in the Mississippi Delta.
While serving as Program Developer for Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE) from the 1970’s through the 1990’s, Mike was responsible for securing tens of millions of dollars in support of rural programs in Mississippi from foundations, corporations, and governmental agencies. He also developed and led leadership development and training programs for rural community organizers, Black elected officials and nonprofit leaders.
Mike was a founding board member of the Mississippi for Nonprofits in 1991 and served on the Center’s Board of Directors for a total of 14 years, including five years as Board Chair. Over the past 25 years, he has provided training to hundreds of nonprofit leaders in fundraising, proposal writing, legal compliance and nonprofit management.
While serving as Director of Programs for the Maddox Foundation from 2003-2013, Mike served as part of the Steering Committee that led to the formation of the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers, helping to draft MAG’s bylaws and develop its annual meetings. He now works to develop MAG’s member services and support networks and provides support for MAG’s major programs and activities.
Mike holds a B.A. degree in social work from Delta State University, a J.D. (law) degree from the University of Mississippi, and a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also a former Fellow of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership Development Program.