Edna B. and Joyce Fay Washington Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc is a 501(c) 3 organization that was founded in 1994. The organization’s mission is to promote healing through culturally sensitive programs that address the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and educational needs of medically underserved women.
Ultimately, the Foundation seeks to impact Mississippi and Louisiana by providing culturally sensitive services within the social, economic and political context of the 21st century. The primary target population for the foundation consists of medically underserved and medically uninsured women.
Two primary fundraisers have served to financially support the mission of the Foundation along with individual contributions. In New Orleans, that event was the Christmas Tea and in Natchez
Hats And Gloves With Tea on the Mississippi.
Founder and Executive Director
Joyce Washington Ivery attended New Orleans Public Schools and graduated from McDonogh #35 Senior High School in 1960. She received a BA Degree in Sociology, 1965 from Texas Southern University and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Atlanta University, 1969.
Ms. Ivery’s professional career began with the YWCA in Rochester, NY and after four years, worked for the City of New Orleans in the capacity of Assistant Director of the Human Services Department for thirty-one (31) years. She also worked, on a part time basis, as an individual and family therapist for the Counseling and Diagnostic Family Institute, as well as, the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.
Joyce is very active in the Miss Lou Community. In her church, St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she serves as the editor of the St. Mark Gazette and chair of the Health Ministry. She is a very active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Natchez Alumnae Chapter; the National Association of Black Social Workers; and formally a board member of the United Way of Greater Miss-Lou.
Ms. Ivery is the founder and CEO of Edna B. and Joyce Fay Washington Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Five years following her diagnosis of breast cancer, in 1989, she organized the Foundation with the intent of providing free breast prosthesis to women who could not afford same. Additionally, the Foundation organized a support group, for breast cancer survivors, which has been in existence for twenty-six (26) years. The group has continued to meet in New Orleans each month. Other support services, educational venues and health fairs have been provided to women and their families. The foundation continues to share the importance of performing monthly self-breast examinations and having an annual mammogram.
Following hurricane Katrina, Joyce moved to Natchez, MS where she continued her work in the community. Washington Breast Cancer Foundation has provided more than 450 free mammograms to medically underserved women over the past 8 years. The Foundation works very closely with Merit Health Natchez Hospital to assure that women receive these services whenever needed.
In March, 2021, Ms. Ivery became a published author. The title of her first publication, “The Pretty Pink Ribbon: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Hurricane Katrina Story”, is currently on the market. She shares her personal experiences during that very challenging and grueling time in her life. Preceding each chapter is a select piece of poetry that she began writing 48 days before her 77th birthday. She shares this fact to emphasize that it is never too late to pursue your dreams, regardless of your age.
While Ms. Ivery does not have any biological children, she continues to be a mentor to many. She exhumes confidence and pride which are reflected in her smile and in her relationship with others.
Dr. Gemma Beckley
DR. GEMMA D. BECKLEY retired after 45 years of higher education services. Her teaching service included Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and New York.Her professional career has been varied and expansive. She has traveled extensively having been a Fulbright Scholar to China, Africa, Middle East, India and Mexico. Board member Beckley recently retired as Chair of the Social Work Department from Rust College in Holly Springs, MS where she currently resides. At the end of her tenure from Rust College, she was awarded Professor Emeritus status.
LYNN M. BUGGAGE currently resides in Philadelphia, PA. Her professional career as an administrator in the public, private, non-profit and religious sectors have taken (propelled) her from her native New Orleans. She currently serves as Canon for Administration for the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. Board member Buggage has served as the webmaster for the Foundation's website since its inception
Carolyn S. Spruille
CAROLYN S. SPRUILLE, a native New Orleanen, served as a social worker, who worked in the trenches for more than 33 years, for the State of Louisiana Department of Social Services. Since her retirement, she has devoted her life to volunteering on various service projects in the Greater New Orleans community, most notably, Council on Aging Board of Directors.
Dr. Johnnie Gibson
DR. JOHNNY GIBSON, MD established his private practice in New Orleans, where he currently resides, in 1980 and continued that service for 25 years. Board member Gibson is a Board Certified Surgeon. While in his private practice, he frequently referred breast cancer survivors to the Foundation's support group, Sisters InTouch. Currently, he is using his expertise as an in-home assessor for patients in southern Louisiana
Eloise D. Dixon
ELOISE DOXIE DIXON, a New Orleans native, retired after 40 years of service in the area of social work. In her final professional years, she worked at Xavier University, New Orleans as the Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center. On campus, she was known as "Miss Wellness" to both students and faculty. Very close to her 15th year celebration of being breast cancer free, she had a recurrence. She has been living with 4th stage metastatic breast cancer for nearly 4 years. However, she remains an advocate to all with whom she comes in contact.
Cynthia N. White
CYNTHIA N. WHITE currently resides in Lake Charles, LA where she moved following hurricane Katrina. She worked for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services while living in New Orleans and resumed her professional career, with the same agency, where she retired after 31 years of service. Currently, board member White remains involved in her community as she stirs up positive energy amongst all in whom she comes in contact. She is affectionately known as the "Purple Lady" by everyone.