“Life has many doors, education is the key.”


Our Mission

The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation (GJEF) contributes resources and ideas to education with an emphasis on elementary education, library science, theater, and environmental science. This support is provided primarily through annual college scholarships to African-American high school seniors in southwest Georgia and the San Francisco Bay Area who meet the criteria set by the GJEF board of trustees.

We are in our 11th year of giving and we are very proud of our 92 Gaines-Jones Scholars.


Anita Jones Roehrick & Robert M. Roehrick

Anita Jones Roehrick is a Writer/Visual Artist/Storyteller, born and raised in Albany, Georgia. She has a Fine Arts degree from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. In the early 90s, writing and illustrating children’s stories lead Anita to oral tradition storytelling, working in San Francisco Bay Area schools as an artist-in-residence and tailoring storytelling programs for libraries, corporations and private clients. In 2002 she and Rob co-founded The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation in memory of her mother, father and sister who all passed away in the 1990s. Their daughter, Miranda, co-founded Positive Impulse, GJEF’s teen board. She serves as Executive Director of GJEF.

Graphic Artist Rob Roehrick is the principal of Roehrick Design, a communications design studio formed January 1993 in the San Francisco Bay Area. He collaborates with a variety of for-profit and non-profit clientele, creating innovative solutions to promote their organizations.

Rob’s professional design experience prior to 1993 includes staff positions in the firms Destiny Two (Minneapolis), Lance Wyman, LTD (New York), Ace Design and Phippen Design Group (San Francisco). He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College in 1981 and a Master of Science (Communications Design) degree from Pratt Institute in 1987. Rob serves as Finance Manager for GJEF.


Flora B. Devine

General Counsel at Kennesaw State University, a 32,000-student public higher education institution in Georgia. During her career, Flora has practiced law across many sectors including federal and local government, private industry, and higher education. Her career in education includes executive-level leadership positions in legal affairs, mediation and conflict resolution, diversity leadership, and cultural competence.






Cynthia Ladd-Viti

Graduate Outreach and Summer Research Coordinator for the Graduate Diversity Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Cynthia is a strong proponent of increasing educational access and graduate school opportunities for historically underrepresented students.  A long-time resident of Marin County, California, she is the mother of two; both graduates of Columbia University in New York City.





 Advisory Board:

Robert Jones
Founding Board Member

President of the University at Albany, New York. A native of Dawson, Georgia, Robert earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a master of science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
He came to UAlbany following 34 years at the University of Minnesota, where he had most recently served as senior vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota System since 2004. Before that, Robert spent more than 15 years in key administrative leadership positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, including vice president and executive vice provost for faculty and academic programs, vice president for campus life and vice provost for faculty and academic personnel, interim vice president for student development and president of the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park Development, LLC.

In January 2013 he became the 19th president of U of Albany and had to transition to the GJEF  Advisory Board.

Natasha Singh

Writer/Educator/Lecturer. A native of Canada, Natasha teaches high school English and gender studies at The Branson School in San Rafael, California. She is an activist and speaker  on issues of sexual exploitation and corruption in India. Prior to joining Branson’s faculty, Natasha lived in New York City where she taught creative writing at Rutgers University and at the Collegiate School. She writes both fiction and creative nonfiction; recent works have appeared in South Asia Review, The New York Times, ThreePenny Rievew, Glimmer Train, Crab Orchard Review, and various anthologies.

Before joining the faculty at Collegiate, Natasha taught Creative Writing and Asian Literature at Rutgers University. She earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Canadian Studies from the University of Toronto and a M.F.A. in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.




H. Lee Freeman

Actor/Singer/Songwriter. Born in Western North Carolina, near what is now the resort community of Lake Lure. Graduated Bennett College—where I shared the spotlight at Bennett’s Little Theater with the young woman who became Dr. Betty Jones. I have enjoyed parallel careers in business and in the arts—including TV and film roles.

Now living in Charlotte, NC, I continue to work as a performance artist; support the work of organizations that advocate for abused & at-risk children; and get a little better each year at growing organic vegetables.