Little Rock, AR – Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP) Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Karama Neal, has been appointed to the board of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, a renowned philanthropic foundation focused on alleviating poverty and increasing social and economic justice in 11 Southern states.

“On behalf of the Southern Bancorp family, I congratulate Dr. Neal on her appointment to such an impactful foundation board,” said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp Community Partners. “We’ve been fortunate to partner with the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation for several years around our shared mission of creating economic opportunity, and we look forward to Dr. Neal’s contribution to their ongoing mission and vision.”

In her role at SBCP, Dr. Neal oversees all asset building programs, as well as partner relations, grant reporting, and staff supervision for the 501(c)(3) financial development organization and loan fund. She also oversees and participates in the organization’s public policy efforts at the federal, state and local level.

“It is an honor to join the board of a foundation with such a long and impressive history of investment and positive impact across the South,” said Dr. Neal. “The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation’s work to move people and places out of poverty is critical for our region and for our country.”

Prior to joining SBCP in 2009, she served as an adjunct professor and program director at Emory University, where she earned a Ph.D. in genetics. In addition to holding a M.A. in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University Chicago and a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College, Dr. Neal has completed the Impact Investing Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. She also serves on the board of the Little Rock Branch of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, a position to which she was recently re-appointed, and is a frequently requested speaker and panel member regarding economic opportunity.


About Southern Bancorp ________________________________________________________________

Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; were founded in 1986 by a group of business, political and philanthropic leaders who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. All three entities are U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) collectively known as “Southern.” With $1.2 billion in assets, 60,000 customers and 46 locations in Arkansas and Mississippi, Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities. Learn more about Southern on the web at &

Let's keep in touch.

Sign up to receive the One Southern newsletter.