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Southern’s Winning Strategy for Building Communities
Southern concentrates revitalization efforts on the communities surrounding key banking location and aligning their development efforts with the communities’ own priorities. With a strong belief that revitalization should be driven by local communities, Southern provides technical assistance and support to help community leaders through a strategic planning process that ensures all of the community’s interconnected challenges are addressed and that realistic, results-oriented action steps are outlined for achieving each community-defined goal. The process is comprehensive including a focus on five critical areas: housing, education, healthcare, economic development and leadership development. The community engagement and leadership mobilized by the planning process and backed by Southern’s resources, encourages outside investment—both philanthropic and traditional—which enables Southern to achieve tremendous leverage of its investment.
The process of supporting communities to realize the dreams they have for revitalizing their communities is proving successful. The communities, like Phillips County, Clark County, and the Mississippi towns of Ruleville and Drew are beginning to see powerful results as they work toward realizing the long-term goals they envisioned.
Delta Bridge Project
The Delta Bridge Project in Phillips County, Arkansas, is Southern’s flagship community development program. The breadth of the Delta Bridge Project’s goals, the depth of community involvement, and the array of development resources provided by Southern all contribute to a model that is already achieving substantial and lasting results in Phillips County. The Delta Bridge Project has already brought millions of dollars and diverse resources into Phillips County for projects with real impact in the lives of residents.
Visit the Delta Bridge Project website
Clark County Strategic Plan
Building on the success of the Delta Bridge Project in Phillips County, Southern is bringing the same approach to Clark County. Southern has hired a facilitator and created a series of task forces to address the five pillars of community development: economic development, housing, healthcare, education, and leadership. The kick-off event in mid-2006 was attended by over 250 residents, and the community continues to engage in the process. The planning process is producing ideas for Arkadelphia to build on its strength as a “college town,” with two colleges and all the economic and cultural potential they represent.
Visit the Clark County Strategic Plan website
Drew, Mississippi Plan
Over a hundred citizens in Drew, Mississippi mobilized to develop a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for their community. With Southern’s backing and assistance, the citizens of Drew are also seeing significant progress in achieving the goals they envision. One of their key economic development goals was the revitalization of downtown Drew. Energized by the planning effort and with the investment of more than half a million dollars by Southern, local citizens mobilized to generate the additional dollars and resources necessary to clear dilapidated properties, renovate usable buildings, beautify the downtown streetscape, create new business opportunities and strengthen city infrastructures.
Ruleville, Mississippi Plan
With Southern’s help, the city of Ruleville, Mississippi created, through a dynamic strategic planning process, a blue-print for long-term change and embarked on a journey toward self-determination and economic and social revitalization. Already the citizens of Ruleville are implementing strategies contained in the plan in housing, education and health care. With a significant investment from Southern to launch the revitalization effort, the community continues to seek additional resources to keep the momentum going.
Strategic Community Plan for Ruleville, Mississippi (6.99 MB)