Rhea Williams-Bishop is director of Mississippi and New Orleans Programming for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. In this role, she supports the foundation’s efforts to promote thriving children, working families and equitable communities.
Williams-Bishop is responsible for leadership and vision in program conceptualization, design, planning, management, coordination, communication, evaluation, policy and learning of grantmaking in Mississippi and New Orleans. Williams-Bishop supports and facilitates the community change process within the region in alignment with the foundation’s mission and strategic framework, in collaboration and partnership with grantees and other external partners in the region, as well as other WKKF staff.
Prior to joining the foundation, Williams-Bishop served as the director of the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation (MSCEI), a nonprofit education intermediary focused on impacting and transforming education through engagement and innovation. As a child and family advocate, she has devoted her career to improving the lives of vulnerable children by enhancing and improving their opportunities in the areas of racial equity, healthcare and education.
Prior to this, Williams-Bishop held several positions with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), including State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) administrator, executive director of Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) and deputy director of the CDF Southern Regional Office. She has also served as the Kids Count State Coordinator. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she worked to ensure that children and families were not further traumatized by reuniting families and securing resources for restoration and recovery. Over the
course of her career, she has spent nearly 15 years effectively managing people, programs and resources.
Williams-Bishop holds a Ph.D. in education leadership, a master’s degree in public policy and administration and a bachelor’s degree in urban affairs, each from Jackson State University. She has completed leadership programs with the Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Program, Leadership Mississippi, Leadership Madison County, and most recently the Southeastern Council of Foundations – Hull Fellowship Program.
She has been honored with awards from the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the “Top 10 Business Women” (2012), “Top 40 under 40” (2008), the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Social Work Friend of Children Award and most recently named by the Girl Scouts of Greater MS as a Woman of Distinction (2019) for leadership and community service. She has served on several education boards and councils; State Early Childhood Advisory Council (SECAC), Alignment Jackson, MS Building Blocks, Excel by 5 and the Mississippi Economic Council’s (MEC) Blueprint Mississippi – Steering, Education and Racial Reconciliation Committees. She currently serves as a member of the MEC Board of Governors as well as a member of the MS Chapter of the International Women’s Forum. Additionally, as an active community member, Rhea is affiliated with and has chartered a number of national and international women’s social and community service organizations in the Jackson metro area.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.