Empower Mississippi

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Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.

Empower Mississippi(EM) is a right-wing advocacy group based in Mississippi. It is a member of the State Policy Network, a web of state pressure groups that denote themselves as "think tanks" and drive a right-wing agenda in statehouses nationwide. EM focuses its activities on expanding charter schools and the use of vouchers in Mississippi.[1] Empower Mississippi also manages the Empower Mississippi Foundation, a 501(c)(3), and Empower PAC, a group that targets and works to unseat politicians who are anti-charter school and supporters of public education.[2]


Empower PAC Aides in Ouster of 4 Anti-Charter School Republicans

In the Mississippi primary election held on August 4, 2015, Empower Mississippi used its political action committee to help unseat four state republican representatives who support public education and oppose charter schools. According to a report in the Jackson Free Press, "The Empower PAC spread almost $110,000 over the campaigns of Dana Criswell, Dan Eubanks, Ashley Henley and Steve Hopkins to defeat several incumbents: Wanda Jennings, Forrest Hamilton, Pat Nelson and Gene Alday."[2] Ousted state Rep. Forrest Hamilton (R-Olive Branch) suggested that Empower Mississippi is beholden to charter school lobbyists when he told the Desoto Times-Tribune, ""Empower Mississippi is a front for some organizations out there which are dangerous. The number one target is our public school system. That's why we are the target."[3]


The Empower Mississippi Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that shares a website with Empower Mississippi received $6,250 from the Donors Capital Fund, a funding group with deep ties to the Koch brothers.[1]

Core Finances

Empower Mississippi


  • Total Revenue: $158,748
  • Total Expenses: $212,008
  • Net Assets: $85,375


  • Total Revenue: $158,748
  • Total Expenses: $212,008
  • Net Assets: $85,375


  • Total Revenue: $172,686
  • Total Expenses: $58,993
  • Net Assets: $138,635

Empower Mississippi Foundation


  • Total Revenue: $375,195
  • Total Expenses: $418,489
  • Net Assets: $70,668


  • Total Revenue: $236,723
  • Total Expenses: $189,597
  • Net Assets: $113,963


  • Total Revenue: $212,809
  • Total Expenses: $145,972
  • Net Assets: $66,837


As of August 2016:[8]


  • Grant Callen, President
  • Elyse Marcellino, Vice President
  • James Robertson, Director of Employability and Criminal Justice Reform
  • Gina Metzger, Office Administrator
  • Constance White, Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Anna Beth Houston, Community Outreach Coordinator

Former staff:

  • Brett Kittredge, Director of Communications

Board of Directors

As of November 2015:[9]

  • Gerard Gilbert, Chairman
  • Bill Billingsley, Treasurer
  • Tim Mask, Secretary
  • Grant Callen
  • Phillip Holmes

Former directors:[5]

  • Roman Galey
  • Francis C. Lee

Contact Details

Empower Mississippi
P.O. Box 4028
Madison, MS 39130
Phone: (601) 980-1897
Web: http://empowerms.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/empowerms
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmpowerMississippi/

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Empower Mississippi, About Us, Empower Mississippi, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Arielle Dreher, ‘Empower’ PAC Helps Oust Anti-Charter Republicans, Jackson Free Press, August 12, 2015.
  3. Robert Lee Long, Empower PAC targets races, Desoto Times-Tribune, July 17, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Empower Mississippi, [paper copy 2015 990], Empower Mississippi, November 15, 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Empower Mississippi, 2014 990, Empower Mississippi, November 16, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Empower Mississippi Foundation,2015 990, Empower Mississippi Foundation, November 2, 2016.
  7. Empower Mississippi Foundation,2014 990, Empower Mississippi Foundation, November 16, 2015.
  8. Empower Mississippi, Staff, Empower Mississippi, 2016.
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 2016 990