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Delta Circles group shot

Finding the Inspiration to Lead from Generation’s Past

March 19, 2024
Through financial literacy and friendship, Delta Circles is improving the lives of Black women in the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta

In the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta, at the end of a road framed by cotton fields, there’s a place called Calico Bottoms.

“There’s a little church right across the street from where I was born,” says Patricia Ashanti. “The women in that church would come there two or three times a week so that we could have choir practice and youth programs. Growing up, I didn’t really appreciate it, but I think a lot about those women now. How they gave their time to change their community for the better.”

Today, Patricia leads Delta Circles in Helena, Arkansas. The organization is a catalyst for change in a region ripe with opportunity. Its mission is to empower families, end poverty and challenge the way that Black women think about themselves, their finances and their businesses.

Celebrating the Delta: Patricia Ashanti and Delta Circles
Through Delta Circles, Patricia Ashanti is helping Black women in the region build financial stability and independence. But the Helena, Arkansas-based nonprofit is also doing much more. It’s become a place of fellowship and friendship, where Black women build connection and confidence in the future.

The Walton Family Foundation actively supports innovative local leaders like Patricia as they lift up their neighbors in the Delta through programs that create well-paying jobs, home ownership and financial literacy.

Patricia’s own story is one of hope and resilience. Growing up in Calico Bottoms, Patricia says, “We didn't talk about poverty, we just lived it.”

Even as she went to college and entered the workforce, Patricia recognized that enhancing her financial knowledge was key to unlocking a brighter and more secure future. She struggled at times to pay her car insurance. And every time she saw a city energy truck drive down her street, she would wonder if it was coming to shut off her power.

Delta Circles. Patricia Ashanti 2
Delta Circles' mission is to support families, end poverty and challenge the way that Black women think about themselves, their finances and their businesses.

“I realized that there were a lot of things that I did not know about personal finances, and really just [went] on a mission to learn,” she says. Then, Patricia was motivated to do more. She realized many other women were facing similar challenges to those she overcame.

“I knew that I wanted to help people with personal finances,” she says. “I wanted to teach others because I didn't want them to continue to go through the same things.”

She founded Delta Circles to build economic equity for Black women. She offers classes that range from understanding the historic barriers to building financial security to starting a business and creating stability through savings.

“Our programming has been very beneficial to help individuals see what can be possible,” Patricia says.

Delta Circles image lead
“They are committed to creating change for their families," Patricia Ashanti says of the women she works with in Delta Circles. "The group setting lets them know there are people here that support you."

But Delta Circles offers more than just classroom learning. It’s a place where women build connection and confidence. They become friends and mentors.

“It's all about creating an environment where people feel safe and feel like whatever they're going through, they're not going through it alone,” says Patricia.

“These women play a lot of roles. They are leaders in their jobs, in their churches, but they need more education and support to help improve their credit score, save emergency funds and do things like purchase a home or vehicle.”

Patricia Ashanti Delta Circles

These are simple things, Patricia says, that not only give them independence, but also show their children it’s possible to overcome.

“They are committed to creating change for their families. The group setting lets them know there are people here that support you, and it’s been such a blessing to watch people grow their lives through finances.”

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