Lowndes Community Foundation

Simply stated: It is a way that everyone can work together to make our communities prosper. Its greatest strength is that it allows each of us the opportunity to find our charitable voice and improve the quality of life for the people of Lowndes County.

Option A (3)

Why Use LCF for Making Charitable Gifts?

“The long-term benefits of a Community Foundation are limitless as its endowment grows. I’m extremely excited about LCF and what it can do for Columbus and Lowndes County.”

Tyler Covington, Board Member

“By spending the investment interest only, donors can be assured that they are making a gift that will last. The benefits are endless.”

Tom Buckley, Founding Board Member

“The unique aspect of this foundation is that it will not compete against current programs, but will serve as a great complement to all community-based charitable programs. Gifts and bequests to this perpetual foundation will provide needed grant funds for our many worthy community organizations.”

Josie Shumake, Board Member


To recognize the efforts of community affiliates, Journal, Inc. established the James Hugh Ray Community Affiliate Award. James Hugh Ray was a community hero and made many valuable contributions to our region and to the CREATE Foundation. He was instrumental in CREATE’s establishment, serving as its legal architect and advisor. He was a loyal board member for many years.

Pictured on right: Bobby Harper, LCF Board Member; Jan Eastman, LCF Executive Director; Jay Fisher, LCF CoChair; Josie Shumake, LCF Co-Chair



LCF Board of Directors

Tyler Covington

Tyler Covington


Tyler Covington is the owner of Covington Wealth Management, a comprehensive financial planning and investment firm. Tyler was raised in nearby Vernon, AL, and attended the Mississippi University for Women on the Hearin Leadership Scholarship before transferring and graduating from the University of Alabama. He began his financial career with AIG Financial Network before becoming a partner at Mass Mutual. Soon after, he continued building his client base at Raymond James. After just over 3 years with the firm, Tyler decided to open his own wealth management firm. He enjoys playing golf, hunting, fishing, college football, and on occasion pulls for Mississippi State when they are not playing his alma mater. Tyler currently holds the Series 7, 63, 65, received the Accredited Asset Management Specialist® (AAMS) designation in 2018, and currently resides in Columbus, MS with his wife Joanna.

Chanley Rainey

Chanley Rainey


Dr. Chanley Rainey is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy at Mississippi University for Women. She is also a member of the Faculty Senate, the Honors College Committee, and the Martha Swain Speaker Series Committee at The W. In the community, Chanley serves as Co-President of the Lowndes Community Foundation and of AAUW-MS. She also serves as Secretary of the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies and Co-Chair of the Events Committee for the League of Women Voters of the Golden Triangle. Chanley and her husband, Ken Ryals, have a daughter, Bennett, and a son, Carmel.

Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson

Treasurer & Founding Member

Jim Davidson began practicing law with the firm of Carter and Davidson in Columbus, Ms. in 1974. He was hired by MUW in 1975, as an adjunct professor of Business Law while still maintaining a law practice. In 1986, Davidson became an associate professor of Paralegal Studies teaching various law courses, again while also maintaining a law practice. In 2006, Davidson was elected as one of three Chancery Judges in the 14th Chancery District of Mississippi, and took office in January, 2007. In July, 2007, he retired as a full professor of paralegal studies from MUW. Davidson served 12 years as Chancellor and retired as a senior status judge on December 31, 2018. He, along with Morris Denton and Bill Threadgill, founded the Lowndes Community Foundation. Davidson is also the Founder and Incorporator of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Foundation. Davidson and his wife Jamie have three children and six grandchildren.

George Hazard

George Hazard


In Columbus, George Hazard worked at The Commercial Dispatch newspaper for 12 years and taught English at Heritage Academy for nine years.

He joined the Lowndes Community Foundation board in 2013 and has been its secretary since 2015.

Matt Bogue

Matt Bogue

Matt Bogue is Vice President of Dutch Oil Company, where he leads a diverse multi-generational team that markets fuel and convenience products in Mississippi and Alabama.  He also serves as a Partner in the 102-store Sprint Mart convenience store chain, where he is involved in setting strategy and direction.  He is the current President of the Mississippi Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (MPMCSA) and he represents MS and AL on the Shell Oil Company Wholesaler Council.  Matt received his Bachelor of Science from Birmingham-Southern College and his MBA from the University of Alabama.  Matt has served on the LCF Board since 2013 and served as co-chair from 2016-2018.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the CREATE Foundation and as a Lowndes County representative on the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi.

Tom Buckley

Tom Buckley

Founding Member

Tom Buckley, CPA worked for T. E Lott & Company for 45 years and retired as President of the Company. He has been involved in many not-for-profit  entities over the years where he enjoyed his community involvement.

Dennis Erby

Dennis J. Erby

Dennis J Erby moved to Columbus Mississippi in 1978 as a newly commissioned Mississippi state trooper. After retiring in 2005 as the district lieutenant, he served in numerous community-based organizations.  In April 2011, Lieutenant Erby received a presidential appointment to become the United States Marshal for the northern district of Mississippi. After retiring from the Marshal service in December 2017 he became re-involved in the community and was later asked to become a board member of the Lowndes Community Foundation Board of Directors in 2023.

Rita Felton

Dr. Rita Felton

Dr. Rita Felton retired from the United States Air Force with 30 years of honorable service in the position of Command Chief Master Sergeant from the 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. In the position, she provided subject matter expertise on mission effectiveness, professional development, military readiness, training, utilization, and health, morale, and welfare. She is a City of Columbus Civil Service Commissioner, Christian Mission Director for the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) for Lowndes County, Hire Heroes Alumni Advisor, Dream Center Advisor Committee, and serve on several prominent organizations that promote local and global philanthropy to improve and impact the quality of life for individuals and communities. She is happily married to Derk Felton and they are blessed with five wonderful adult children and one amazing granddaughter. Rita has served on the LCF Board since 2018.

Fisher Head Shot Close

Jay Fisher

Jay Fisher is the County Administrator for Lowndes County, Mississippi and a retired Colonel in the United States Air Force Base. His military career stretched over 25 years and included a deployed year in Kabul, Afghanistan and senior leadership positions at the Headquarters of the NATO mission there as well as at the Pentagon and at other stateside locations including Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, McGuire AFB in New Jersey, and multiple tours at Columbus AFB in Mississippi. His military experience includes flying in combat during multiple deployments and in support missions around the world, including humanitarian relief efforts. Jay serves as Troop Committee Chair and on the Pushmataha Area Council Executive Board for the Boy Scouts, on the United Way of Lowndes County Executive Board, the Lowndes Community Foundation Task Force on Leadership and Vision and the Lowndes Community Foundation Board, the Board of the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Rotary Club, and in multiple positions and various committees at the First United Methodist Church. He and his wife Marla, have two sons, Noel and Luke.

Linda Gates 2

Linda "L.L." Gates

Linda retired from East MS Community College in 2015. She was based at the Golden Triangle campus and served throughout the six county college district. She held a variety of positions, including Special Assistant to the President, District Director of Job Placement/ Work-based Learning, and Government/Military Liaison. Her current volunteer service includes Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs and Education Committees, Board and Chair of the Base Community Council Public Relations Committee, Air Force Civic Leader, Emeritus, and West Point Rotarian.

Frank Howell

Frank Howell

Frank Howell is a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker West Realty Company, Columbus, MS. He entered the oil and gas industry with Exxon Company, USA as a graduate engineer and served in positions of increasing responsibility with Exxon, Sun Gas, and retired as Sr. VP of Exploration and Production with Hunt Petroleum Corporation, Dallas, TX. Areas of responsibility were in the US, France, and The Dutch North Sea. He serves on the Four County Electrical Co-Op Advisory Board and the Renasant Bank Advisory Board in Columbus, MS.

Leroy Lacey

Leroy Lacey

Headshot of Emily Liner with bookshelves in the background.

Emily Liner

Emily Liner is the founder of Friendly City Books, an independent bookstore and press established in 2020 in Columbus, Mississippi. In 2023, she launched a nonprofit, the Friendly City Books Community Connection, a special project of the CREATE Foundation that promotes access to books in rural Mississippi. She previously worked in the private sector at Salesforce, at the think tank Third Way, and on a number of federal campaigns. She has taught entrepreneurship and civic engagement at the Mississippi Governor's School at Mississippi University for Women and mentored high school students in the Mayor's Youth Council for the city of Columbus. Emily received a BA from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Tango Moore

Major General Thomas L. “Tango” Moore, Jr.

MajGen Moore served in the Marine Corps for 36 years. He attained his B.A. Degree from Delta State University and a Graduate Degree from Troy State University. His formal military education included The Basic School, Naval Aviation Flight Training, Armed Forces Staff College and Air War College. He commanded a Marine squadron, a Marine Expeditionary Unit and a Marine Air Wing. His staff positions included Operation Officer Joint Forces Command, Deputy Commander Marine Forces Atlantic, Chief of Staff Multinational Force Iraq and Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander US Central Command. After retirement he was a consultant and then VP of Marketing for Stark Aerospace working Unmanned Systems and then Senior Advisor for Academi, a security company based in Virginia. He has been on the Lowndes Community Foundation board since 2014.

Bridget Pieschel

Bridget Pieschel

Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel is Emerita Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Mississippi University for Women. Retired after 39 years, she served in a variety of administrative positions, including as Chair of the Department of Language, Literature, and Philosophy and the founding Director of the Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy. She is editor of a collection of oral histories from MUW and co-author of The Centennial History of Mississippi University for Women.

Rob Winklepleck

Rob Winklepleck

Rob Winklepleck is an Owner and Vice President of West Brothers Construction, Inc., a third-generation commercial general contractor in Columbus, MS. Rob is also a co-founder and board member for the Forge Foundation, a special project of Create and group of community-minded small businesses, working alongside educators to recruit, train, and retain skilled employees. Rob received his undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2007 from Mississippi State University and his MBA from the University of Alabama in 2012. He holds an accreditation as a LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Professional from the U.S. Green Building Council and an Engineer Intern License from the Mississippi Board of Licensure. He currently serves on the YMCA Board of Directors and as a representative for Lowndes County on the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi. Rob and his wife, Stacie, have two sons, Brecken and Brantley.

Stevan Black

Joe Boggess

John Brady

Quinn Brislin

Lindsay Clemmons

Doug Gosney

Bobby Harper

Wanda Holley

Ralph McLain

Doug Robertson

Pam Russell

Josie Shumake

Jan Eastman, Executive Director