Stories

Economic Development

  • Hollis Watkins: Music as an Organizing Tool

    A veteran of the civil rights movement, Hollis Watkins founded Southern Echo, a leadership development, education and training organization working to develop effective, accountable grassroots leadership in rural Mississippi and the surrounding region.

    Watkins and Southern Echo have been instrumental in challenging redistricting in Mississippi, protecting communities from landfills and...

  • Perry Perkins: Political Context of Louisiana & the South

    Perry Perkins is the Supervisory Organizer for the southern region of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest network of organizers and training institute for institutional organizing. He serves on the National Strategic Team and is Co-Chair of the Staff Transition Process. Perkins also serves as Lead Organizer for Together Louisiana, the coalition of IAF-affiliated...

  • Ines Polonius: Leadership Development

    Ines Polonius spearheaded the merger of Community Resource Group and alt.Consulting to form Communities Unlimited, which offers infrastructure services and economic entrepreneurial growth strategies in seven states.

    As Executive Director of alt.Consulting, Polonius worked with hundreds of small businesses in manufacturing, distribution, service and retail. Among the services Polonius...

  • Justin Maxson: Generational Transition

    From 2002 to 2015, Justin Maxson served as President of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development in Kentucky, where he supported and generated innovative development strategies, including small enterprise lending and technical assistance solutions, energy efficiency support strategies and targeted research and policy efforts aimed at creating benefits for low-to-moderate...

  • Martin Eakes: Advice to Younger Generation

    Martin Eakes is co-founder and CEO of Self Help Credit Union and the Center for Responsible Lending. He holds a law degree from Yale, a master's from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton, and a bachelor's degree from Davidson College. A native of North Carolina, Eakes is a nationally recognized expert on development finance and has been honored by the John D. and Catherine...