Coahoma Community College is one of seven Mississippi colleges recently awarded grant funds given by The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi to support students pursuing nursing and healthcare-related studies. Through a two-year $654,500 grant from the Bower Foundation, the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi will get to build on efforts already in place at post-secondary institutions in Mississippi.

In the first year of the grant, $280,000, or 42 percent, of total grant funds will be portioned off to the ‘Graduating a Healthcare Workforce’ project at a select number of colleges in the state, including Alcorn State University, Hinds Community College, Itawamba Community College, Coahoma Community College, Pearl River Community College, Meridian Community College, and Jones County Junior College.

The executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Tracy DeVries, has expressed gratitude for the opportunity to continue investing in the value of education with the Bower Foundation’s contribution.

“At the Women’s Foundation, we have already been working with most of the state’s post-secondary campuses to support women earning degrees and certificates,” said DeVries.

“Our years of connections and experience position us to manage this program focused on developing the healthcare workforce in our state, helping students to graduate on time and secure these much-needed jobs sooner. Our interventions allow students to navigate challenges that might otherwise derail their studies or cause them to graduate later.”

Since its philanthropic beginnings in 1996, the Bower Foundation has sought to invest funds and efforts into health outcome improvement by way of healthcare workforce education and health-care infrastructure. While the nursing industry stayed on the decline last year in the COVID-19 pandemic’s aftermath, the grant brings hope for a more populated healthcare workforce. The grant funds are set aside to go toward emergency funding, resources and support to aid students taking healthcare courses, thus enabling graduating on time.

In addition, the College is establishing the Coahoma Community College Healthcare Workforce Emergency Fund to assist students at risk of not continuing study in a healthcare program due to financial strains.

“The purpose of this grant is to increase access to qualifying healthcare for women, men and families who are acquiring training and will be graduating healthcare workers in the state,” said Nekedra Blockett, who played a part, along with Chaquina Griffin-Taylor, in landing the grant. The two were presented with a $40,000 grant opportunity in April from the Access to Opportunity-Training and Graduating a Healthcare Workforce for Mississippi grant program.

“As ambassadors for the college, we are committed to finding ways to meet the needs of students to further their education, obtain certifications and degrees, and secure jobs with livable wages,” Blockett added.

“We want to see our students excel, complete their program, and obtain a job making sustainable wages to support them and their families,” said Griffin-Taylor.

For more information on the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi grant, contact Chaquina Griffin-Taylor at (662) 621-4301 or, or Nekedra Blockett at (662)621-4139 or