MIFA Names New Executive Director

By Aisling Maki

After a three-month search, the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association has named Sally Jones Heinz as the organization’s new top executive.

Heinz, who joined MIFA’s senior staff in 2007 as vice president of development, replaces Margaret Craddock, who announced her resignation in November after 13 years leading the faith-based nonprofit, which addresses the needs of the city’s poor.

In a November open letter to stakeholders, including volunteers, donors and friends, Craddock wrote: “Over the past few months, as MIFA has further streamlined its operations and triumphed over a number of challenges, it has become abundantly clear that MIFA, its passionate board, and its talented staff are self-sufficient, and the time has come for me to begin the next stage of my life.

“So, with absolute optimism for the future of this organization, I am happy to announce that I am stepping down after 13 wonderful years as MIFA’s executive director, and that a search committee has begun working to find a new leader. I will continue serving until a new director is in place.”

In searching for Craddock’s successor, MIFA officials’ long list of criteria included solid strategic management and development abilities coupled with exceptional interpersonal and community relations skills.

The position includes developing and managing relationships with city government entities, foundations, major donors and collaborative partners.

Through her background in nonprofit administration, Heinz brings to the table existing high-level relationships and strong knowledge of available community resources.

She has served as director of development for Memphis Brooks Museum; executive director of Memphis Heritage Inc.; director of marketing and vice president for publications for Robert. F. Sharpe Co., a provider of philanthropic planning resources for nonprofits; and director of alumni, director of public relations and acting director of communications at Rhodes College.

"Sally brings a dynamic combination of vision, compassion and leadership acumen to the position,” said Jef Feibelman, chair of MIFA’s board of directors and head of the executive search committee tasked with finding a new top executive, in a release. “Throughout her career, she's worked with organizations dedicated to making individual lives and the larger community better. Her track record of management success and commitment to the values and mission of MIFA are outstanding."

Heinz, a native Memphian who attended Snowden School and Central High School,

holds a B.A. degree from Rhodes College and a master's degree in American studies from the University of Texas.

Community service seems to run in the family; her father, Jameson Jones, served as dean at Rhodes College and president of Memphis College of Art, while mother Dorothy worked in her church food pantry and tutored at an elementary school.

Heinz said she and the MIFA team will continue to build on the organization’s mission to sustain the independence of seniors, transform families in crisis and equip teens for success.

"MIFA is unique, not only in Memphis but in the nation,” Heinz said in a release. “It's an organization founded in 1968 during a time of crisis to bring people of different faiths and backgrounds together to serve our community. I am dedicated to sustaining our history of community participation and collaboration. MIFA is a treasure and I'm honored to be here.”

Heinz is the sixth executive director in MIFA’s 42-year history.

The organization was founded in September of 1968 to address poverty and racial division in Memphis following the sanitation workers’ strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. earlier that year.

By 1998, more than 200 local congregations of various faiths supported MIFA through monetary contributions and volunteer activities to help address the challenges of poverty.

The organization serves about 60,000 seniors, teens and families annually through programs such as MIFA Meals, MIFA Transit and the Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Housing Partnership.