We bring community projects to life

We’re just getting started but our sleeves are rolled up, and we’re excited to move forward together

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

Our (Citizen) Village People

We are generating ideas and bringing community projects to life.

Who We Are

At Citizenville, we’re on a mission to mobilize and empower citizens for good. To many, this mission is daunting, to us, a bunch of over-achieving, change-the-world, no-challenge-is-too-big, go-getters, it’s a mission we know we can achieve together.

The nonprofit was born around a dinner party (gumbo was on the menu) of teachers wanting to make an impact in their community. When JJ Townsend, the founder of Citizenville, raised more than $10,000 to kickstart a youth media project for his 5th grade students, he saw the potential for the civic and business communities to unite and address crowdsourcing solutions for Mississippi.

We believe through collective action, anything is possible. Our fundraising platform, empowers folks to financially support a mission through peer-to-peer fundraising. However, we’re not just a fundraising machine. We’re really trying to fix problems and come up with solutions. We partner with organizations that fundraise on our site.

JJ Townsend

Founder & CEO

What We Aim to Solve

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 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.

Jena Howie

Fondren GUMBO Captain

Project Advocacy and Recruiting

This program comprises all of the activities and initiatives we design and manage in order to recruit projects and connect with potential donors and volunteers. It also includes all our events (see: GUMBO) and communications to keep donors involved and up to date with projects they have supported, as well as a variety of 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. 

Deidre Alexander

West JXN GUMBO Captain

Darius Williams


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.

Aseye Attipoe


Online 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 (Citizenville.org) 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.

Samantha Macy


Citizenville is working to achieve the following outcomes:

1. Right-sized, timely funding is available for informal civic groups working to make their neighborhoods better.
2. Emerging leaders have funding, people and skills they need to design and execute projects.
3. New, small, upstart or otherwise under-the-radar projects get backbone support from Citizenville.
4. Citizenville increases projects’ visibility to and from local governments and other key decision makers.

Ashlee Pitts

Fondren GUMBO Captain

2020 Goal Indicators

Total amount ($) of citizen philanthropy raised via Citizenville.org
Total number of Citizenville projects funded
Total number of cities represented on Citizenville.org

Shira Muroff

Gumbo Gang

Cassandre Connolly

Board President

Ebony Jones

Board Secretary