As the South Grows

Strong Roots

GETTING STARTED

Are you ready to engage in high-impact philanthropy in the South? Here is a quick guide that applies the Do’s and Don’ts and suggests resources from the region.

 

1. UNDERSTAND STRUCTURAL INEQUITY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO ECONOMIC EXCLUSION AND EXPLOITATION IN THE SOUTH.

How to Start Who Can Help
  • Invest in data that describe the state of poverty in terms of race, gender, geography, sexual identity, immigration status and other factors.
  • Lean in to challenging conversations about the real and perceived harm done to Southern communities.
  • Consider in what ways Southerners, Americans across the country and our chosen leaders have harmed Southern communities – in what we have done and in what we have not done.
  • Be curious – ask questions and seek complicated answers.
  • Institute for Southern Studies
  • MDC
  • Local colleges and universities
  • Historians
  • Local community economic justice organizations and elders
  • State and labor organizations, NAACPs and other advocacy organizations

 

2. EMBRACE AN INCLUSIVE, OPTIMISTIC AND PRAGMATIC NARRATIVE ABOUT THE LINKED FATE OF SOUTHERN COMMUNITIES, THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND THE PROSPEROUS FUTURE AHEAD.

How to Start Who Can Help
  • Be physically present as often as possible, and leave assumptions behind so you can be emotionally and mentally present, too.
  • Leave space for creative expression and storytelling as you listen and learn from Southern leaders.
  • Seek out cross-regional relationships and collaborations where information exchange can lead to more nuanced and broader understanding.

 

 

3. CONSIDER THE WAYS COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – GROUNDED IN EQUITY AND AN INCLUSIVE NARRATIVE – IS A PROMISING TOOL FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE IN THE SOUTH.

How to Start Who Can Help
  • Learn from funders who are already leading in this space.
  • Rethink risk as you consider experimenting with new grantmaking strategies and methods: Whose risk is it, really?
  • Ask questions about access, history, community representation and underlying causes of poverty to better track the impacts of a community economic development investment strategy.

 

 

4. MAKE LONG-TERM, FLEXIBLE COMMITMENTS OF CAPITAL, TIME AND CAPACITY.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Philanthropy plays an important role in recognizing and investing in existing assets, and strengthening the institutions and networks that can protect those assets. But these communities and institutions need sustained philanthropic support, so the assets and wealth can be protected against political and environmental shocks.

How can foundations and donors help communities build a sustainable infrastructure, so they remain resilient against political and environmental shifts? Find out in the next report in the As the South Grows series, when we explore how communities face backlash and build resilience in Eastern North Carolina and the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Infographic

Photo by Timothy Brown. Used under Creative Commons license.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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INTRODUCTION

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VOICES

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THE BOTTOM LINE

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & INTERVIEWEES

Advisory Committee and Coal Country + Lowcountry Interview and Focus Group Participants

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APPENDIX A

Methodology

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STRONG ROOTS

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