Volunteer Mississippi, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, is pleased to announce the promotion of Suzanne Scales Rutherford to executive director.

In her new role, Rutherford will provide vision and direction for Volunteer Mississippi staff while overseeing the day-to-day operations of Volunteer Mississippi. She will also serve as the liaison between Volunteer Mississippi and its partners, including AmeriCorps, community partners, and elected officials.

Rutherford, a Millsaps College and Louisiana State University graduate, has served Volunteer Mississippi in various roles since 2007, most recently as AmeriCorps grants officer and interim co-executive director. Rutherford’s extensive history with the agency and knowledge of AmeriCorps programs will greatly benefit volunteerism, national service, and Mississippi as a whole.

With over 16 years of experience in national service, Rutherford is no stranger to the world of AmeriCorps and volunteerism. After graduating from Millsaps College, Rutherford returned to her alma mater to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and director of volunteer and community services.

A Mississippi native, Rutherford grew up around Lauderdale County, graduating from West Lauderdale High School.  Rutherford married the love of her life, Robert, in 2009, and together, they have 2 beautiful children, George (8) and Margaret (4).

Rutherford is active in her community and a supporter of Saint Richard Catholic School and the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle, both of Jackson. She serves as a board member for Una Voce of Mississippi and loves all things classic, including Masterpiece Theatre and Tolkien.

She is excited to continue her tenure with Volunteer Mississippi in the role of Executive Director, and she is grateful for her past with the agency.

“Volunteer Mississippi has been my home for the last sixteen years,” Rutherford said, “and in that time I have had the incredible opportunity to work with some of the finest people around.  Our staff is genuinely dedicated to helping Mississippi flourish, and they do so with such grace and humility.  The work that Volunteer Mississippi does allows so many communities to thrive, and I am grateful for the opportunity to play even a small part in that.”

Volunteer Mississippi has helped ignite the spark of service in many Mississippians, and as the agency moves towards its thirtieth anniversary, Rutherford has made it a goal to recognize and promote the spirit of service that exists in Mississippi.

“The hard work of volunteers and National Service members have provided solutions to some of Mississippi’s greatest challenges,” Rutherford said. “In most cases, the impact of those helping hands is largely unrealized.  Since Mississippians oftentimes see hospitality and generosity just as a way of life, there is an untapped undercurrent of generosity that Volunteer Mississippi intends to celebrate.”

Chairman of Volunteer Mississippi’s Board of Commissioners, Suzanne Bean, is equally enthusiastic about the future of the agency under the direction of Rutherford.

“The Commissioners and I are excited about the appointment of Suzanne Scales Rutherford as Executive Director of Volunteer Mississippi,” Bean said. “Suzanne has been with the agency for 16 years, and she certainly understands the importance of the work of Volunteer Mississippi to our state.  We look forward to her leadership and to the progress of Volunteer Mississippi.”

Volunteer Mississippi’s mission will continue to grow and thrive with Rutherford as director, and she clarified her vision for the future of the agency.

“Our goals to promote, increase, and recognize volunteers AND diversify AmeriCorps resources in the state will provide even more opportunities for Mississippians to help their neighbors,” Rutherford said, “We look forward to seeing their hard work help Mississippi become better prepared for emergencies, build stronger employment pathways, improve educational engagement, protect natural resources, provide healthier futures, and more.”

The mission of Volunteer Mississippi is to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities. Volunteer Mississippi works to connect volunteers with opportunities to serve around the state of Mississippi. The agency houses AmeriCorps Mississippi and partners with Mississippi service organizations to promote volunteerism to all Mississippi residents. To learn more about Volunteer Mississippi or get involved, visit volunteermississippi.org.