We’re just getting started. Our sleeves are rolled up and
we’re excited to move forward together

The Citizen(Village) People

generating ideas and building a radical, citizen-focused village

GUMBO Board of Directors

JJ Townsend

Founder & CEO

Deidre Alexander

GUMBO Captain

Jena Howie

GUMBO Captain

Ann Williams

GUMBO Captain

Samantha Macy


Shira Muroff


Aseye Attipoe


DJ Baker


Darius Williams


Ashlee Pitts


Candace Coleman


Cassandre Connolly

Board (voting)

Ebony Jones

Board (voting)
Total raised across all projects.
Total GUMBO events hosted
Projects impacted by Citizenville.
Small dollar donors and supporters of GUMBO


Citizenville is a platform to provide people with the tools, resources, and support network to make change in their village. We do this by providing: (1) a robust digital platform and in-person event (GUMBO) for individuals and groups to access an important, and often untapped source of funding—the community itself—while also providing a connection to a like minded community and new potential volunteers. (2) capital investments and mentorships to social entrepreneurs who are rethinking what’s possible in Mississippi through technology. (3) a (physical) space for community to eat, work, meet, live, and play in the heart of downtown Jackson. (4) educating the next generation of change makers through a project-based, technology and social entrepreneurship focused curriculum.

Our Programs / "The How"

GUMBO Project Recruiting & Support

GUMBO is our crowdfunding dinner hosted throughout the year to support charities and initiatives in our communities. We design and manage activities and initiatives in order to recruit projects and connect with potential donors and volunteers. This also includes the outreach activities to promote the work of our projects to the broader community of interested community activists and neighborhood leaders. We have built strong relationships with hundreds of local community groups and nonprofits across the state, and recruited and launched several projects and initiatives through the GUMBO Dinners. 


Project Support

This program comprises all of the services that we provide for projects using the Citizenville platform. In addition to the use of our website and its tools, project leaders benefit from optional technical assistance from the Citizenville team in the form of workshops and one-on-one consultations on: project planning and management; social media and online communications; participation in our digital storytelling project; and, most importantly, grassroots fundraising. This program also includes all aspects of the limited form of fiscal sponsorship that we offer to projects and management of necessary purchasing and/or funds disbursement after projects are fully funded.

Online & Offline Platform

This program is the functional heart of our organization and the core of our unique model; it enables most other aspects of our work. We design, build and maintain a web platform focused on meeting the needs of the project leaders we serve and the donors that support their work. This platform is constantly evolving through iterations and enhanced by feedback from both project leaders and donors.

For offline platform, we are building a multi-purpose facility to support our partnered projects with a office / co-workspace and monthly contributions through The Embassy’s charitable giving program. 


Citizenville was born around a dinner party (gumbo was on the menu) of teachers wanting to make a broader impact in their classrooms by connecting their student-centered projects to the community. After $10k was raised to kickstart a youth media project, they saw the potential for the civic and business communities to unite and address crowdsourcing solutions for other projects and initiatives.


Grassroots leaders at the neighborhood scale are underfunded, and an overlooked source of innovation for lighter, quicker, cheaper solutions to a number of social problems. We believe that Citizenville’s work to address barriers to grassroots leadership at the neighborhood scale will unleash the full potential of citizen ingenuity and catalyze collective power to fund and implement new local solutions to entrenched problems. Citizenville is an answer to this unmet niche by working intentionally in low-income neighborhoods and in communities of color to provide support to community-driven project ideas. Citizenville provides a robust digital (and physical) platform for these groups to access an important, and often untapped source of funding—the community itself—while also providing a connection to a likeminded community and new potential volunteers. Crowd-resourcing via Citizenville can also be a powerful community engagement tool and demonstrate buy-in, support, and a source of long-term stewardship to other investors.

2020 GOALS

$ 35
$ 1
2020 Progress Bar
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