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A Prosperous and Thriving Delta

Over the course of our 2025 Strategy, the foundation is committed to supporting the people and organizations building lasting impact for all people in the Delta

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta is a region brimming with potential, where local leaders are working to create opportunities to learn, prosper and improve the quality of life in their communities. Over the course of our 2025 Strategy, the foundation is committed to supporting the people and organizations building lasting impact for all people in the Delta. That includes local leaders strengthening schools and educational programs; supporting small businesses and economic opportunity; and investing in the innovators working to build a better, brighter future. To advance the work of local grantees and community-led efforts, the foundation will support new and existing partnerships that:

  • Build Education and Youth Engagement

Students in the Delta deserve the chance to learn in the educational environment that is right for them, with the resources they need to thrive. That’s why it’s vital to grow programs and institutions that support young people in the Delta and put them on a pathway to both college and fulfilling well-paying careers. We also support better resources, training and certification rules to develop excellent teachers, who are the key to unlocking a lifetime of opportunity for children. A high-quality education is about more than what happens in K-12—it means ensuring all Delta residents are able to pursue a fulfilling, self-determined life after graduation. By coming together with businesses and higher education, the foundation will support schools and programs that can help students understand and discover the full range of college and career opportunities that lie ahead.

Aspen Young Leaders fellow Kaitlyn Done stands and smiles in front of the New Roxy Theater in Clarksdale, Miss.
Kaitlyn Done was an Aspen Young Leaders fellow in 2018-19 and a member of the program's first Delta region cohort.

  • Support Economic Asset Building

Unlocking the Delta’s full potential means supporting small businesses and residents at the same time, training a workforce that attracts new opportunities to the region and building individual and generational prosperity. To continue moving forward, people need greater access to programs and partnerships for youth, strengthened job training opportunities for all and guidance that small businesses need to succeed. Home and land ownership are also vital components to lift Black families in the Delta into financial security and are a key first step to closing the racial wealth gap in the region. By connecting families to resources to increase ownership and financial literacy, community coalitions in the Delta can help build a brighter, more equitable future.

  • Encourage Coalition and Capacity Building

To support and sustain long-term equity and vibrancy in the Delta, communities must encourage and elevate the voices of a diverse new generation of local leaders, especially those who have been underrepresented and under-resourced in the past. And while it will take time to secure a more equitable future for the Delta, the best efforts bring all resources to bear. That’s why we’re committed to collaboration at every level with local partners leading the way. By forging broad-based coalitions that combine the talents of local organizations with the resources of regional and national partners, the Delta will move closer to realizing its potential as a place of equitable opportunity.