In 1979, Jack Woodward sought to create a secondary market for student loans in Mississippi because banks were reluctant to originate loans that were difficult to service and were not easily sold.
For Mr. Woodward, however, this was not simply about making loans. He saw the secondary market as a vehicle to improve access to education for residents across the state. He envisioned a Mississippi where more students were able to obtain the funds necessary to gain a postsecondary education.
In 1980, Mr. Woodward, joined by J. Herman Hines, helped create the Mississippi Higher Education Assistance Corporation (MHEAC), the first step toward realizing Woodward’s vision.
For 15 years, under the guidance and leadership of Mr. Woodward and Mr. Hines, MHEAC grew and operated one of the country’s most successful and respected nonprofit secondary markets for federally guaranteed student loans.
In 1995, Mr. Woodward and Mr. Hines over saw another significant step toward Woodward’s vision – the creation of the Education Services Foundation (ESF), a nonprofit designed to carry out the function of MHEAC while engaging in a variety of activities to “increase the level of appropriate quality education in the state of Mississippi.”
That same year, ESF launched a program offering free high-quality and comprehensive college planning services and personalized college counseling to Mississippi students and families that currently operates in three centers in Metro Jackson, North Mississippi, and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
In 2014, with Mr. Woodward still on the Board of Directors, MHEAC and ESF took yet another critical step to transform college access in Mississippi by amending its Articles of Incorporation to place greater emphasis on its charitable services – to continue the great work of operating Get2College (G2C) and also to develop an expanded philanthropic mission, funding a broader range of educational endeavors in Mississippi.
In 2016, we engaged in a process of reflection and planning to determine how we increase the impact of our financial and nonfinancial resources to advance more powerful and enduring social outcomes.
Through this process, the decision was made to change the name of the foundation to the Woodward Hines Education Foundation to honor the strong foundation laid by Jack Woodward and J. Herman Hines. In 2017, we officially announced our new name, and we are proud to continue the commitment to the mission of our founders, Jack Woodward and J. Herman Hines.
Elevating Mississippi to a Higher Degree