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Hi Friend,

This month, MDC President John Simpkins and Candid CEO Ann Mei Chang published Action Steps to Grow Climate-Driven Philanthropy in Rural Communities, an op-ed that sheds a light on how climate change negatively impacts rural communities, and how philanthropic funders can help by including "climate change to their racial equity funding portfolio."

Rural communities, already with access to fewer resources, are experiencing increased climate disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. We witness, time and again, the stark gap between what people need and what local, state, and federal governments are willing to provide; it’s clear there’s an opportunity and responsibility for philanthropy to step in. 

Philanthropic funders, even those outside of the climate change space, are uniquely positioned to experiment with expanded giving strategies and pools to acknowledge the full impacts of the climate change crisis on people of color living in rural communities.  

In the short-term, philanthropy can help by filling gaps that exist at the intersection of market and policy failures. And, in the long-term, philanthropy can help identify and shine a light on better solutions that can be scaled through government or business.  

Read the full op-ed in Non-Profit Quarterly by clicking the button below. 


Partner & Project Highlights


Rural Development and Prosperity

Mapping a new terrain: Five Principles for Equitable Rural Outdoor Recreation Economies.

Check out this recent publication from our friends at the Community Strategies Group at the Aspen Institute. MDC Rural Forward's Merald Holloway is a featured practioner in the report. 

Encouraged by federal programs and philanthropic initiatives, many rural and Native nation communities are turning to outdoor recreation as a primary economic strategy. However, the tourism sector has a history of inequitable outcomes and can put unsustainable pressure on local systems and resources.

As new rural outdoor recreation economies take root, we can meet this moment by improving how we do outdoor recreation development to better support rural families, businesses, and workers, create more sustainable and equitable economic systems, and improve local health and wellbeing.

Learn More → 


MDC News


ICYMI: Watch the video from our Student Debt Webinar!

Check out video from our recent webinar: Inequitable Burden of Student Debt on Southerners. 

Student Debt Relief is a unique issue throughout the South. MDC has worked to alleviate this burden through the Southern Partnership to Reduce Debt, demonstrating how our region faces restricted economic mobility while incurring and compounding debt over the course of one’s life. During the webinar, we talked about how MDC is creating and supporting the North Carolina Student Debt Relief Coalition and how stakeholders could sponsor similar coalitions in other Southern states. 

Watch Video → 

Virginia Civil Rights Memorial at the state Capitol. Courtesy Times-Dispatch

Equity is democracy in action.

Susan T. Gooden, PhD, a member of MDC's board of directors, recently authored Equity Is Democracy In Action for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

The word “equity” has taken center stage recently with questions about its meaning and application. While it is appropriate to seek clarification of terms, it is not appropriate to arbitrarily redefine the meaning of words...Equity, fairness and justice are not terms ripe for exclusion in our lexicon, but rather words to elevate and aspire to achieve.



The State of the South


Reflections from True South Central Appalachia: The Economic and Community Impact of Incarceration in Appalachia 

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 James Gore, Senior Program Officer at The Just Trust.

The decline of coal as the economic engine in the Central Appalachia region created a challenging prospect for policy makers and communities: How do we provide employment to our residents, and how do we support the community infrastructure which has been dependent on tax revenue? Prison construction became one solution, with 16 prisons located in the region and 8 in Eastern Kentucky alone.


Reflections from True South Central Appalachia: 21st Century Economic Development

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 Peter Hille, President of the Mountain Association.  Peter was a panelist on Rural Economic Development at True South Central Appalachia. 

It’s time to embrace a new approach to economic development that is grounded in the realities of the 21st century, not the economies of the past. We must look beyond resource extraction, and beyond the industrial revolution, to create economies that are more diverse, resilient, sustainable, and equitable. Appalachia provides a stark example of how the old economy didn’t work. The persistent poverty of this region is a harsh illustration of that failure, and we see many of the same dynamics in rural places across America and around the world.



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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