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GiVEr Spotlight: Anna Mullins Ellis

Helping create a new Memphis


(Feb. 1, 2018)


That is the word Advisory Team chair Anna Mullins chooses when asked to describe GiVE 365. It is that spirit of approachability that first attracted her to the membership in 2012. “The concept that philanthropy is for everybody really resonated with me as a young person who had spent a lot of time in my youth volunteering and feeling close to area nonprofits,” she says. “It occurred to me that I’d never really been asked for money, other than the radio voice on WKNO twice a year. I thought, ‘I’ve got a dollar to spend.’ I like the notion that everyone should be a philanthropist.”

Having moved to Memphis with her family while in high school, Anna attended college and graduate school here. She began her career a decade ago in niche publications at The Commercial Appeal, and has served in roles including editor of Skirt magazine and executive director of the Cotton Museum. 


Anna is currently Vice President of Communications and Strategic Initiatives for New Memphis Institute, publisher of High Ground News, and executive director of TEDx Memphis. She stays very busy in roles that – in her words – “lift up the people and organizations in this city innovating                   for solutions, creating the city that we want to live in.” 

“It’s impossible for me to have a pessimistic view about Memphis and where it’s headed because I get to see so many perspectives, whether it’s a young leader coming through New Memphis or a community group we’re featuring in High Ground News, or an academic who’s improving the community who gives a TED talk. There’s not a day that passes by that I don’t hear something that makes me legitimately excited about Memphis.”


That excitement about the city carries over into how she sees GiVE 365. “Memphis is a community that is embracing innovation. We’re willing to try. We’re a city on an upward trajectory,” she says. “There’s a momentum that GiVE 365 embodies. We’re bringing people into the philanthropic space, which is bringing people into community engagement.”

2018 includes both GiVE 365’s ninth grant round and Anna’s term as Advisory Team chair. The group “has become a community, and I really appreciate the opportunity to gather with these people, many of whom I have come to know through GiVE 365. It’s such a great space, it’s fun. That is what keeps me coming back.”