Stories

Economic Development

  • Hollis Watkins Singing

    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...

  • Ivan Parra: Founding of the Credit Union, Focus and Strategy

    An experienced community organizer and trainer, Ivan Kohar Parra cofounded three organizations that engage hundreds of grassroots leaders in social change. He is Executive Director of the Latino Credit Union, a member-owned non-profit financial institution offering a full package of ethical, bilingual financial services, affordable credit options and financial education to thousands of...

  • Martin Eakes: Generational Transition & Leadership Development

    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...

  • Sophia Bracy Harris: Investing in the South

    Sophia Bracy Harris is Executive Director of the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL) and Alabama Director of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI). Her lifelong dedication to improving educational opportunities for children and their families has been recognized with the Rockefeller Public Service Award, Gleitsman Foundation “People...

  • Powering Appalachia’s Brighter Future

    Coalfield communities are getting a much-needed jolt.

    On October 15, the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative announced its first round of grants for communities in 12 states and tribal regions affected by changes in the coal industry and energy sector. The $14.5 million is aimed at helping diversify economies, create jobs, attract...