Melody Moody Thortis

Melody Moody

Melody Moody Thortis

Director of Strategic Impact
Melody Moody Thortis has always been deeply interested in the ways communities come together for collective decision-making and collaborative change-making. To this end, she has spent the last 20 years in the nonprofit, government and philanthropic sectors exploring new methods and techniques for catalyzing place-based change, including how inclusive stakeholder convenings and community-led planning can facilitate more authentic collaborations and outcomes.

She draws on her extensive background in community organizing, facilitation and asset mapping in her work as CFM’s Director of Strategic Impact, where she manages its programs and uses data-driven techniques and community input to measure, evaluate, visualize and inform the foundation’s grantmaking and outreach strategies to make the greatest possible impact.Prior to coming to CFM, Melody served as the Director of Grants and Arts-Based Community Development at the Mississippi Arts Commission where she oversaw the distribution of over 4.2 million dollars in grants to hundreds of nonprofit organizations. While there, she managed the agency’s creative placemaking work, statewide convenings and implemented new strategies for reaching under-resourced communities. Melody also served for 12 years as the Executive Director of Bike Walk Mississippi, where she increased Mississippi’s national ranking from #47 to #32 as a bicycle-friendly state, and successfully lobbied Congress to increase its support of biking and walking in the Federal Transportation bill and taught over 100 civic engagement and community visioning workshops across the state.

A native of Kingsport, TN, Melody moved to Mississippi in the late 90’s to attend Belhaven University and has since made the magnolia state her forever home. In 2009, she earned her master’s degree in international development, advocacy and human rights from Eastern University’s campus in Cape Town, South Africa. Melody served as a 2015 Fellow with America Walks, focused on building safe, equitable and accessible public spaces and in 2019, completed a post-graduate certificate of Creative Placemaking from the National Consortium of Creative Placemaking and the Institute of Art and Design at New England College.

Melody enjoys spending as much time as possible with her young son and husband and in her “spare time” can be found in her painting studio, playing clawhammer banjo, or volunteering as an advocate for bicycle safety, accessibility, and the arts.

“One of my greatest joys in life is facilitating and collaborating with groups to help them create their own plans to move forward the change they want to see in their community.  I believe that the Community Foundation for Mississippi is in a unique position to listen and respond to locally-driven needs, to be a unifier of collective community ideas and to serve as a connector between philanthropic partners, private donors and the nonprofits and institutions working to move the needle for long-term change in Mississippi.” 

Ken Wiandt

Ken Wiandt

Ken Wiandt

Director of Finance

Kenneth Wiandt has over 25 years of experience with not-for-profit and health care organizations including 21 years in a director position.

For over twenty years Kenneth served as the Director of Accounting/Finance for Reformed Theological Seminary with campuses in Jackson, Miss.; Orlando, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Washington, D.C.; Houston, TX; Dallas, Texas and New York, N.Y., along with a distance education degree program, and an international affiliation in Brazil.  Responsibilities included supervising accounting staff, presenting GAAP financial statements, compiling annual budgets for entire institution, preparing annual tax return Form 990, preparing internal financial reports and coordinating annual audits with outside auditors.

Kenneth has also served in positions at Sage Health Services, St. Paul Presbyterian School and St. Mary’s Medical Center. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Union University and a master’s degree in Christian education from Reformed Theological Seminary. A licensed CPA, he is a member of AICPA and Mississippi Society of CPA’s (MSCPA).

“I have worked for over 25 years for not-for-profit organizations and have seen firsthand how they are able to help shape communities and institutions for the good. Looking at organizations the Community Foundation for Mississippi has impacted over the years has intrigued and excited me to be a part of this organization,” he said. “When I consider the transfer of wealth that will occur in the next decade, I realize that organizations like the Community Foundation for Mississippi have the potential to have major impact for good on our local communities and state.  I desire to be a part of that positive change.”

Sophie McNeil Wolf

Sophie McNeil Wolf

Sophie McNeil Wolf

Director of Communications

Sophie McNeil Wolf loves the intersection of community, quality of life and storytelling, which has informed much of her work. In fact, as a child, she was pegged as the “first to know it and the first to tell it.”

As a communications professional and storyteller, Wolf has worked for over 15 years helping organizations quantify and share their impact through traditional and digital media. An accomplished writer, editor, and content creator, her skills include photography, video, social media management, graphic design, SEO, digital ADA accessibility, and strategic communications planning. The secret sauce of integrated marketing communications – creating compelling touchpoint strategies while upholding brand standards – is paramount to her work.  Currently, Wolf serves as the Director of Communications for the Community Foundation for Mississippi. She has previously worked for organizations such as Visit Jackson, Millsaps College, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Her work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Wall Street Journal, Mississippi Magazine, and Jackson Free Press, among others.

Wolf holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in news-editorial from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from the University of Mississippi. She is a 2014 graduate of the Millsaps College Business Advantage Program and 2018-2019 graduate of Leadership Greater Jackson.

Currently, Wolf serves as a board member for the Public Relations Association of Mississippi, Central Chapter. She is a former board member of Leadership Greater Jackson and the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi. Wolf is also part of the duo behind popular media brand Find It In Fondren, highlighting Jackson’s hip arts district, with her husband, Paul Wolf.