• Statement from The Winter Institute Staff on the Passing of Elise Winter

Who We Are
In the spirit of our namesake, Governor William Winter, the William Winter Institute offers programming designed to foster community communications, engage youth leaders and promote civic dialogue on the key issues facing Mississippi and the nation.

Community Building

The Welcome TableTM process helps communities build the relationships necessary to heal systemic challenges, solve civic problems and to bridge long-standing divides.

Youth Engagement

The Summer Youth Institute is a nine-day experiential program for youth to discover the value of diversity and build both leadership and advocacy skills; Summer Youth Institute 2.0 is a reconvening of SYI alumni to maintain their network and strengthen the SYI curriculum.

Policy and Civic Engagement

Rethink MississippiTM is a policy and civic engagement platform for focusing leaders and their constituents on the need for a future based on equity.

Governor William Winter - William Winter Institute

“Wherever I’ve gone, irrespective of racial or cultural differences, I’ve found that people agree on several basic propositions: everybody wants a decent education for their children; everybody wants a fair chance to secure a job that will sustain them and their family; everybody wants to be able to live in a decent house on a safe street; everybody wants access to adequate health care; and everybody wants to be treated with dignity and respect.”

- Governor William Winter

The Winter Institute in Photos

Take a look at some images of past Welcome TableTM, Summer Youth Institutes and civil engagement events.

Mississippi Civil Rights Project logo

An ongoing project to chronicle the extraordinary efforts of local people who organized to combat Mississippi’s Jim Crow segregation, as well as the complex network of white resistance trying to maintain it.

The Winter Institute Blog

News and reports from the William Winter Institute and our program participants.

SYI Alum Yasmin Ware Wins 4th NYT Annual Podcast Contest

Congratulations to Yasmine Ware, an alum of the Summer Youth Institute, who was one of 12 winners of the 4th annual New York Times Podcast Contest. Ware, 17, is from Madison, Mississippi, and her submission, “OREOntation,” was selected from a record 1,500 contest entries. You can stream Ware’s podcast and

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remembrance project

In the News: Group honors 1893 Lafayette County lynching victim

The Winter Institute supports the Lafayette Community Remembrance Project, which brings a wider awareness of the history of lynching in this area of Mississippi. The Oxford Eagle covered a remembrance event the Institute hosted this month: A group of around 40 people gathered in Banner, Miss., over the weekend to

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Leadership in Challenging Times: Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative Interviews Portia Ballard Espy

The Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative interviewed Portia Ballard Espy, our Executive Director, as part of its  “Leadership in Challenging Times” blog series. The series highlights the inspiring work of the HBS community in addressing the health and economic consequences of COVID-19, alongside the fight for racial equity and an especially polarized political climate. In

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Connect with Us

Get in touch with us to learn more.


P.O. Box 99
Jackson, MS 39205



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