Meet The Founders


Mildred McKinney

Executive Director

Mildred studied Business Administration at Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS before starting a brief fulfilling career in education. As an educator, Mildred was a Teacher's Assistant at Carrie Dotson Elementary School in Grenada, MS for 5 years before she decided to move to the West Coast. Mildred begin her 28 year career as a manager designing marketing plans for Fortune 500 companies. After a satisfying career in corporate America, she started volunteering at Center Point DRC Parole Center Oakland teaching basic computer skills and assisting with various resources. In 2013, Mildred founded Open Gate with Denise Richardson, to facilitate and enrich educational and vocational opportunities for parolees and probationers in the Bay Area.


Denise Richardson


Denise taught in underserved communities in Scotland until 2000, building bridges between schools, communities and homes to increase attendance and school retention. After relocating to California, She taught Adult Basic Education in Oakland and in 2012, where she started to volunteer with parolees, teaching literacy and Job Readiness skills. In 2013, Denise founded Open Gate with Mildred McKinney.