Working together as One!

History of Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation,Inc.  (NCIF)

NCIF was an outgrowth of the Natchitoches Parish Voters & Civic League, Inc. filing a suit in the Tenth Judicial District Court of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana in 2003 against Tennessee Gas Pipeline for said firm’s responsibility for a cancer causing agent (PCB) being drained into the Sibley Lake which is the source of water for the City of Natchitoches.  Ms. Sylvia Morrow was the first to bring to the League’s attention those property owners whose land bordered Sibley Lake has successfully filed similar lawsuit for devaluation of their land.  The League’s membership thought it was of even more significance that the damage was even more important than the financial suffering of landowners.  Ultimately, the Court ruled in favor of the League in this litigation.

The Court then ordered that a Board of Directors be formed in this matter to oversee and direct the handling of the funds that are awarded.  Seventeen were to be nominated by the League and eight members were to be nominated by the A.J. Gregory Plaintiff’s Group, the entity which had joined the league in this lawsuit.  The Board members were made Trustees of the court’s award known then as the Sibley Lake Community Fund and empowered with their sole discretion over the use of the funds.  It was the language of the Plan of Allocation that the principal of the $600,000.00 remaining after legal and administrative expenses were to be invested with the interest of dividends being used for one or more of the following purposes: 1) Recreational opportunities for the youth of the City of Natchitoches;  2) Educational opportunities and scholarships for the youth of the City of Natchitoches; 3) Seed money to acquire Federal, State, or local grants for the administration of cultural, artistic, recreational or educational programs and 4) Economic and/or housing development.  It was emphasized that the funds shall not inure to the benefit of any single individual and that a majority vote of the non-profit Board of Directors will control the disbursement of any and all funds.

The first NCIF Board consisted of Walter Askew, Jr., Herman Briggs, Vincent Cofield, Mildred Dean Joseph, Priscilla R. Gay, Diane Jones, Ophelia Jackson, Eliza Jones, Billye Dickson Johnson, Shaniqua Hoover, Estelle McGill, Ruth LaCaze, Oswald Taylor, Jr. Catherine Hoover, Barbara Pleasant, Hattie Anderson, Leo J. Walker, Sr. Emma Williams, Edward Ward, Jr. Sarah LaCaze, J.D. Dupree, Exie Williams and Rosie Helaire.  The Board expanded to include Louella Porter, Gladys Revels, Gloria Jackson, Ben D. Johnson, Arthur Welch.


Exemplified stewardship over the assets of NCIF to the point that the original award of $600,000.00 was nearly tripled. $30,000.00 contribution to LNC Foundation in the category of economic development to be used on the erection of a monument to Black education that would attract tourist visits to West Natchitoches.  It is located on the site of the now defunct school which has been developed into the Ben Johnson Auditorium Complex.  LNC is an acronym stands for Lincoln Institute, Natchitoches Parish Training School, Central High School, the three institutions which formed the foundation of Black Education in Natchitoches Parish at the turn of the century.

$25,000.00 contribution to the Natchitoches Civic League in the interest of providing quality education for all students in the School District. The NCIF board was reorganized in 2014 with the following fifteen board members: James Below, Jr., Catherine Hoover, Shaniqua Hoover, Billye Sue Johnson, Diane Blake-Jones, Mildred Dean Joseph, Pearl Lott, Estelle McGill, Brenda Milner, Sylvia Morrow, Kelvin Porter, Oswald Taylor, Jr., Leo J. Walker, Sr., Edward Ward, Jr., Gwendolyn Williams.

This board received professional training from Leroy Divinity, founder and president  of Paraclete Consulting Group on key roles and responsibilities of non-profit board members, developing strategic plans assessing organizational structure and evaluating programs as well as policies and procedures and Lisa Kaichen who is a professional consultant and trainer for non-profit leaders for over 25 years and the President of Resource Works, LLC  She provided the board with consultation and training in technical assistance, grant writing, grant reviews, governance, and evaluation.

The following committees were established with board members serving on them:
The board received 501c(3)status in 2015.

Current Board Members

James Below, Jr., Gwendolyn Antee-Hardison Davis, Catherine Hoover, Shaniqua Hoover, Billye Sue Johnson, Diane Blake-Jones, Mildred Dean Joseph, Estelle McGill, Brenda Milner,  Kelvin Porter,  Rene Porter, Oswald Taylor, Jr., Leo J.Walker, Sr., Edward Ward, Jr., Gwendolyn Williams

Rene Porter, Gwendolyn Williams, Shaniqua Hoover

Kelvin Porter

Mildred Dean Joseph

Gwendolyn Antee-Hardison Davis

James Below, Jr.

Brenda Milner

Catherine Hoover

Diane Blake-Jones


Oswald Taylor

Billie Sue Johnson

Edward Ward Jr.

Estelle Mc Gill

NCIF 2019 Officers





Rev. Leo J. Walker, Sr.

Kelvin Porter

Mildred Dean Joseph

Oswald Taylor, Jr.


Governance Committee

  • Gwendolyn Williams

  • Edward Ward, Jr.

  • Diane Blake Jones

  • Kelvin Porter---Chairman

  • Rev. Leo J. Walker, Sr.

Investment Committee

  • Oswald Taylor--Chairman

  • Pearl Lott

  • Shaniqua Hoover

Budget and Grants Committee

  • Rev. James Below,  Jr.

  • Mildred DeanJoseph---Chairperson

  • Estelle McGill

  • Brenda Milner

Audit Committee

  • Katherine Hoover

  • Billye Sue Johnson

  • Rev. Leo J. Walker, Sr.


The board meets quarterly on the second Tuesday beginning in January

January 8, 2019
April 9, 2019
July 9, 2019
October 8, 2019
Location of meetings TBA


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