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Hi Friend,

MDC has been busy in 2023. We continue to add talented people to our team as we grow to meet our mission of being a truly regional organization. Through State of the South, we have held in-person events in Durham, NC, Charleston, SC, and Berea, KY. Each gathering served to connect, educate, and inspire a growing community of people and organizations who share the belief that the South can be a place where people thrive.

We also achieved significant milestones in equity-centered leadership and are beginning to articulate a more comprehensive approach to economic mobility. We continue to build our policy capacity by better understanding how our work can translate into policy proposals. 

Click the button below (or the image above) to learn how MDC has leveraged the support, insight, and investment from partners, friends, and community to move closer to a thriving South—all in the first six months of 2023.


Partner & Project Highlights


Equity Centered Leadership and Philanthropy

Investing in Leaders of Color (ILOC) graduates its first cohort of fellows!

Investing in Leaders of Color (ILOC) Fellowship is a leadership and capacity-building initiative to acknowledge and support the work of leaders of color—and their organizations who serve communities of color—throughout the Carolinas. Co-designed by participating fellows and supporting foundations, this initiative intentionally invests in leaders and organizations that have experienced systemic disadvantages in their work within the philanthropic and nonprofit fields. Philanthropic partners participate in collective learning, mutual mentorship, and relationship-building alongside the fellows.  

In May, MDC hosted a 1.5-day celebration to mark the end of the inaugural cohort’s fellowship year. Over 40 people attended the celebration, including board members from the fellows’ organizations, plus staff and CEOs from supporting foundations.

Click on the link below for more on the ILOC Fellowship and its first cohort. 

Learn More → 


MDC News


Best wishes to Julie Mooney, longtime MDC leader 

It is with mixed emotions that we say farewell to Julie Mooney as she steps down from her role as MDC’s Senior Program Director for Educational Equity at the end of June. Julie has been steadfast in her support of every aspect of MDC’s work over the years and has been constantly at-the-ready to accomplish whatever needed to be done—programmatically, organizationally, or otherwise.

We’re excited for Julie’s next chapter, which she assures us means “continuing commitments to social justice and at the same time a different way of life—more time with family, more exercise, and a little more travel.”

Thank you, Julie, for your many years of service to MDC!

MDC mourns the passing of Dr. William Spriggs, renowned economist, and Vice Chair of MDC’s Board of Directors

The entire MDC community mourns the passing of our friend and long-serving board member, Dr. William Spriggs. Bill was an effective and powerful voice who brilliantly championed the causes of equity, racial justice, and worker’s rights. He used economics as a dynamic tool to highlight systemic injustices and push back against the field’s basic assumptions about discrimination.

Our work at MDC and the communities we serve are immeasurably better because of Bill’s insight, generosity, and wisdom. 



The State of the South


Reflections from True South Central Appalachia: Investment, not criminalization and incarceration, will move Kentucky forward

Following our True South Series event in Berea, Kentucky, we invited panelists and participants to reflect on their experiences.  We're honored to share with you this reflection from Kaylee Raymer , Policy Analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. 

If Kentucky were a country, it would be the seventh most incarcerated place in the world — with more than 21,000 people held in county jails, 65% of which are over capacity, another 10,400 in state prisons, and an additional 63,000 Kentuckians on probation or parole.

Many factors contribute to Kentucky’s high rates of incarceration and system involvement, including an inequitable cash bail system, lengthy sentencing and harsh penalties that criminalize poverty and addiction. Fortunately, policy solutions exist to help Kentucky safety reduce incarceration and its harms, all while increasing safety and well-being in our communities.


Reflections from True South Central Appalachia: Leadership Values for Building a People Ready Community

Following our True South Series event in Berea, Kentucky, we invited panelists and participants to reflect on their experiences. We're honored to share with you this reflection from Donna Daniels, Executive Director, Brushy Fork Leadership Institute, Berea College.  

People Ready Communities place equity at the center of leadership and community development and are positioned to answer an increasingly common question from business, industry, tourists, remote workers and others: “Is this community a great place for a diverse workforce to live, work, and play?” Haley McCoy, CEO and President of the Kentucky Association for Economic Development, explains that communities think about physical infrastructure and a ready workforce, but they often are not able to respond to questions about how the community is considering inclusion, who is in leadership, and how will they welcome a diverse workforce. 



Your investment drives MDC’s work.

By investing in MDC, you make it possible for us to advance knowledge about what works to create and scale transformative solutions in education, employment, access to healthcare, and sustainable community development.


307 W Main St  | Durham, North Carolina 27701
919-381-5802 | info@mdcinc.org

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