|The Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus (MDGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders throughout the eight-state Delta region, which stretches from southern Illinois down to New Orleans, Louisiana.|
Delta Grassroots Caucus Events
Posted on November 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM
This Thanksgiving and Christmas season, the Delta Grassroots Caucus is collaborating with Sharemeister’s social giving Internet platform to encourage donations to exemplary organizations working on nutrition and other good causes in the Delta.
Annette Dove’s TOPPS nonprofit in Pine Bluff and the Memphis Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) are the two principal recipients chosen for the regional giving effort this Thanksgiving and Christmas. We plan to develop other giving campaigns on a rotating basis so that over the years we cover a range of organizations in specific donation challenges.
The Delta Caucus Nutrition Challenge is a fundraiser using Sharemeister, Inc.’s innovative Internet technology and social giving platform to raise funds for two excellent nonprofit institutions in our region: TOPPS (Targeting Our People’s Priorities with Service) led by Annette Dove in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and the Memphis Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) in Memphis, Tennessee.
How you can donate by going to the Sharemeister website at www.sharemeister.com is explained below.
The Delta Caucus Nutrition Challenge will begin now and continue on the website at least through the Christmas season. Mapco, Inc., is also working with Sharemeister, and people can earn reward points when they buy gas or food at Mapco stores in our region, and they can be redeemed by donating to these good causes.
For those who prefer causes in the Delta other than the two we have highlighted, the Sharemeister website has a wide range of good causes to select from and donate to—that information is below.
TOPPS and MIFA were highlighted as two exemplary organizations that richly deserve support, and many of their best practices are role models for community and economic development in the region that should be replicated across the Delta.
Annette Dove’s TOPPS nonprofit does exemplary work in feeding economically distressed families in Pine Bluff, as well as excellent mentoring and tutoring for youths and job training. We especially want to reward the best practices of great nonprofits at this time when so many lower income families are having great difficulty in getting access to fresh, nutrition produce.
“West Delta Team vs. East Delta Team:” You can donate at the Sharemeister website on behalf of either the “West Delta Team” of Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri, or the “East Delta Team of Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois, and Alabama. This is just to engage in a friendly challenge to see which region of the Delta can donate more funds for these good causes.
This has proven to be an entertaining, productive way to raise funds for good causes.
The “West Delta Team” believes that a region with such great institutions as the Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, LSU Tigers, Grambling, and Missouri Tigers will prevail over our counterparts in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, western Kentucky and southern Illinois in giving more generously to these good causes this holiday season, while of course the East Delta Team believes they will give more.
Targeting Our People’s Priorities With Service (TOPPS) is a non-profit community based organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and their community in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a key supporter and partner with TOPPS, and UAPB contributed start-up funding for a job training program for TOPPS.
Annette and her staff believe everyone should have the opportunity to become productive, active citizens in their community. TOPPS offers a full range of services for all ages in tutoring, physical fitness, public speaking, cooking, computer training, art, travel, and mentoring.
TOPPS volunteers also serve a hot nutritious meal to 280 children daily after school and over 500 children throughout the summer months when they do not have a meal served through the school lunch program.
Annette Dove’s TOPPS was featured on NBC national television news in an excellent report by Chelsea Clinton. TOPPS has received great recognition for their public service by many leaders and organizations over many years.
MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) in Memphis, Tennessee has many excellent programs for providing nutritious food to economically distressed neighborhoods in Memphis and many other beneficial community and economic development activities, and has received widespread recognition for their exemplary work. They were established right after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 to continue his work for racial, social and economic justice in the Mid-South.
MIFA’s Meals on Wheels delivers 1,200 hot, nutritious lunches daily to seniors at their homes and at congregate sites. They have programs to assist low-income seniors with selected home improvement projects, long-term care ombudsman advocates for the rights of thousands of residents in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and residential care homes. Their transit program transports seniors to appointments around the city.
MIFA’s emergency services and emergency shelter placement projects provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, clothing, and other necessities for families suffering from an unexpected loss of income and help families secure temporary shelter if homelessness cannot be avoided through mediation. Their COOL (College Offers Opportunities for Life) provides resources, mentoring, and life skills education to help prepare teens for the college application process.
Annette Dove’s TOPPS and MIFA do exemplary work in feeding economically distressed families in Memphis and Pine Bluff, as well as excellent mentoring and tutoring for youths and job training. We especially want to reward the best practices of great nonprofits at this time when so many lower income families are having great difficulty in getting access to fresh, nutrition produce.
The proceeds are divided equally between MIFA and TOPPS, regardless of whether the West Delta Team or the East Delta Team donates more money, so there is no real “competition” of any kind.
We plan to rotate the recipients to other nonprofits and other areas of the reason in challenges lasting several months each, enabling us to aid excellent nonprofits across the region over the years. The Delta Caucus is a private sector organization and has wide freedom of action in fundraising activities for good causes.
The proceeds are divided equally between MIFA and TOPPS, regardless of whether the West Delta Team or the East Delta Team donates more money, so there is no real “competition” of any kind.
Below are the registration instructions for making contributions through Sharemeister on both the Website and Mobile Apps:
1) Go on the Sharemeister Website and register at www.sharemeister.com
2) Click “Events” (at top on left side)
3) Select the “Delta Caucus Nutrition Challenge”
4) Pick a team “West Delta” or East Delta” and give on behalf of your team. Proceeds will be divided equally between the two nonprofits.
5) Give with credit/debit ($) or using your Mapco Express rewards points (S!)
You can also download the “Sharemeister” mobile app on the Apple Store or Android Market.
Posted on November 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM
The Delta Grassroots Caucus would like to praise the “Thanks For Giving 2013 Delta To DC Diversity Tour, Thanksgiving Weekend, Martin Luther King Memorial, Washington, DC, in which 40 to 50 community representatives and volunteers from the Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Mississippi Delta region will travel to Washington, DC and return as community ambassadors of diversity, creativity and volunteerism.
We encourage our partners in the region to support this program of bringing community and representatives to Washington, DC, and for our network based in the Washington, DC, please come to parts of this event, and the schedule is below along with a statement from Rev. Arthur Hunt, CEO of The College of Aspiring Artists. Please contact Rev. Hunt for more information about this great activity for our region in commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this, the first Thanksgiving beyond the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Rev. Hunt’s contact information is: Phone—(870) 623-8179; Email: email@example.com. For tour rates, details and additional information including official program and how to donate/support the tour and Thanksgiving at the MLK Memorial.
Rev. Arthur L. Hunt, Jr., D.D. The College of Aspiring Artists, CEO Senior Pastor, Hunt Memorial Cathedral of Faith 870.623.8179 (direct) 866.531.2359 www.feelthemovement.net
Another contact doing vital work based in Washington, DC is Eugene Dewitt Kinlow and is also available at (202) 320-7040 and at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are sending this messge out in the spirit of “Let us find the good and praise it.”
Among the many, many partners for this enterprise are the Little Rock Central High National Historic Site, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, many faith-based organizations, universities and colleges, public school educators, grassroots leaders, young people, and other institutions across the region and in Washington, DC are collaborating on this effort.
Here is a statement from Rev. Hunt summarizing the event:
“Thanksgiving Weekend MLK Memorial, DC; Saturday, November 30, 2013, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thanks For Giving: 2013 Delta to DC Diversity Tour; A Celebration of Dreams, Love, Creativity and Unity”
“The Nation Gathers to Honor and Give Thanks, with and for: Pastors/Prophets/Creative Talents/Dreamers/Spiritual Leaders/Innovative Thinkers/Community-Civic-Governmental Leaders”
Community Partners Giving Back/Empowering Volunteers—A set time and place for corporate and community leaders to say,”Thanks for Giving;” Yes, for Rev. Dr. King, but also to volunteers and leaders who support their businesses, programs and outreach efforts giving their time and resources year after year.
This year, timed to coincide with the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend—Passing the torch to today’s leaders and preparing community leaders/servants for the upcoming 2014 commemorative and community empowerment event. We believe this is important for many reasons, but on this day because this is the first Thanksgiving beyond the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Beginning with tribute of thanks from this location can inspire millions to stop the violence and conduct of hate and again to commit to the principles of love and non-violence practiced by Rev. King.
Thanks for giving: 2013 Delta to DC Diversity Tour—40 to 50 community representatives and volunteers from the AR-LA-MS-TN Delta will travel to DC and return as community ambassadors of diversity, creativity and volunteerism.
This touring conference combines outreach with community and faith-based organizations and institutions to better reach and empower each delegate to return and more greatly assist in their communities where many persons are faced with complexities including but not limited to Food Insecurity—Poverty—Crime—Drugs—Unemployment, etc.
Special moments to include but are not limited to touring of historic landmarks and Project Eden, founded in 2012. Project Eden is an innovative youth-led urban garden initiative that brings fresh fruits and vegetables, workforce development, and transitional employment opportunities to underserved youth and adults in Southeast Washington, DC.
TOUR SCHEDULE—NOVEMBER 28-DECEMBER 1, 2013
CONTACT: Rev. Arthur L. Hunt, Jr., D.D.; Email: email@example.com; phone—(870) 623-8179
Posted on November 20, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Please mail in the minimum $25 annual membership dues (or for larger organizations or those who would just like to contribute a somewhat larger amount, the optional higher levels of $50 or $100) for calendar year 2013 now.
There are only several weeks left in the year and dues are an essential part of our budget.
We have the issue that some Delta Caucus partners pay their annual dues at $25 or in some cases more, but many more do not. If you are supportive of our organization’s activities and want to receive the group email messages, take part in Delta Caucus activities in the region and in Washington, DC, help advocate for the region’s economic development, please send in your dues.
Many of our partners contribute when there is a major event coming up, but we work 365 days a year and have to have some source of funding that is not related to the major conferences. That is why we ask for at least a $25 payment once a year from all our partners-and we have so many that if everybody would do that it would be a major expansion in our resources. Unfortunately, some people are very generous and many others do not pay any dues at all.
If you are a member or would like to join, please send in the 2013 dues to the address listed below.
Even though the amount is small for each dues payment that is made only once each year, we have so many partners across eight states and the Washington, DC area that it will add up to a lot, if each partner contributes their dues.
This is for people interested in being supportive of and/or directly taking part in our year-round community and economic development advocacy for the eight-state region, conferences at the Clinton Library, Memphis, and elsewhere in the region, news conferences and releases, memoranda on Delta regional issues, website, regional Delta Caucus group email, and advocacy activities at the local, state and federal levels.
The only requirement is for $25, although suggested levels for others are as follows:
Individuals and smaller organizations: $25
Medium-sized organizations, banks, businesses, nonprofits, colleges: $50
Larger banks, corporations, foundations, larger city or county governments, larger universities and colleges: $100
Some larger organizations have given as much as $250 for membership dues, but that is strictly optional.
Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:
5030 Purslane Place
Waldorf, MD 20601
We don’t have much more time for the year 2013, and people tend to naturally get focused on the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, so please send in the dues soon.
We still have the issue that many partners pay their dues but many others do not. It would of course be more fair and help our budget tremendously if everyone would pay at least the $25 minimum.
We know most of our partners have limited budgets, and that is why the minimal requirement is only $25 once a year.
Thanks very much. Delta Caucus board of directors (202) 360-6347
Posted on November 11, 2013 at 01:50 PM
PLEASE HONOR ALL OUR VETERANS ON THIS VETERANS DAY FOR THEIR GREAT SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY.
“East Arkansas Crossroads Coalition to Feature Arkansas Gubernatorial Candidates, Regional Leadership Awards at Dec. 3, 2013 Annual Dinner in Wynne, Arkansas”
The East Arkansas Crossroads Coalition will feature a moderated discussion with Arkansas gubernatorial candidates Mike Ross, Asa Hutchinson and Curtis Coleman as well as regional leadership awards at their Dec. 3, 2013 9th annual dinner, 7 p.m. at the Technology Center for the Delta in Wynne, Arkansas. This will be a great meeting, and contact information is below about how to make reservations.
The Crossroads Coalition is a public/private regional economic development partnership working to improve economic and social conditions in the East Arkansas Delta through education, leadership, community and economic development. Open avenues of communication and collaboration among leadership at all levels is critical to lasting change for the greater Delta region, so we would encourage Delta Grassroots Caucus partners to attend this important event.
To make reservations, please contact the Crossroads Coalition by phone at (870) 238-5300 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The address is 1790 N. Falls Blvd, Ste. 2, Wynne, AR 72396. See the website at crossroadscoalition.org. Their fax is (870) 238-5301.
For a table of eight for members, reservations are $400. For non-members it is $500. Individual tickets are $50 for members and $65 for non-members.
Annual regional leadership awards will include:
–Bill Thomas Vision Award
–Leroy Dangeau Servant Leadership Award
–Pat Audirsch Community Advancement Award
–ADTEC Education Innovation Award
–Crossroads Coalition Regional Business Pacesetter Award
Executive Director Heather Maxwell and other partners of the Crossroads Coalition are regular, excellent participants at Delta Grassroots Caucus activities, so we want to do all we can to support their organization’s great work in the Delta. Thanks so much–Delta Caucus Board of Directors (202) 360-6347
Posted on November 01, 2013 at 04:20 PM
We would like to give an update on the Oct. 17-18 Delta Grassroots Caucus conference at the Memphis Agricenter. We had well over 100 grassroots leaders from all eight states, with presentations from US Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), US Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), US Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Mayor A.C. Wharton of Memphis, the two frontrunners for Arkansas’ gubernatorial race in Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) and Mike Ross (D-AR) and a range of experts on key regional issues.
We are sending out several examples of media coverage for the event, which included reports from three of the Memphis television stations, the Memphis Associated Press bureau, Arkansas public radio KUAR, the Arkansas Municipal League, and several east Arkansas newspapers.
Examples of media coverage in this email–all copied word for word exactly as they were reported–include two in-depth reports from WHBQ, Channel 13; a report from the Crittenden County Evening Times in east Arkansas, and an Arkansas public radio report from KUAR.
The Memphis Associated Press coverage was very difficult to get because they are so busy with events in the big city of Memphis all the time, so we were particularly pleased to get that coverage.
We cannot include the Memphis AP article and some of the other larger newspapers that charge fees to send out copies of their articles, and that would not be a good use of money; however if you use a search engine and put in key words of “Memphis, Delta Grassroots Caucus, Pryor, Ross, Hutchinson, Cotton, October, 2013,” you should be able to read that article. It was published widely not only in the region but across the country.
Media coverage is a way of disseminating information about the conference from the independent eyes of journalists.
The Arkansas Senate and governor’s races are receiving national attention, and we want to keep them focused and keep a close eye on what they plan to do to promote job creation, economic recovery, better nutrition and health care, and other key issues for our region.
We would like to give a special thanks to our luncheon speakers from Memphis, Congressman Steve Cohen and Mayor A. C. Wharton of Memphis, both of whom gave superb presentations on health care for underserved areas, SNAP and other nutrition issues, job creation, Delta heritage tourism projects like the Harahan bridge project across the Mississippi River from Memphis to West Memphis, Arkansas, and other regional issues.
President Glen Fenter gave us an excellent update about Mid-South Community College (MSCC) in West Memphis’ great accomplishments in producing good jobs for many people in the Mid-South. President Fenter and MSCC are not only local but regional leaders in the fundamental issue of education’s role in economic development and job creation/retention.
We had a jam-packed agenda focusing on the themes of “Jobs, Nutrition and the Farm Bill, and Health Care.” Here a few examples of media coverage.
Arkansas candidates in campaign mode (Report from Channel 13 in Memphis, WHBQ, on Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton presentations at Memphis conference–reported by Les Smith)
Posted: Oct 18, 2013 5:16 PM CDT Updated: Oct 18, 2013 8:26 PM CDT
Arkansas candidates in campaign mode
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -
While the 2014 elections are still a while off, candidates for Arkansas’ U.S. senator and governor were in campaign mode Friday as they made appearances at the annual Delta Grassroots Caucus at the Agricenter in Memphis.
Incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) was the first to take the podium where he stressed the need for the kind of bi-partisanship which resulted in an agreement to stop the government shutdown and temporarily raise the debt ceiling.
Though Sen. Pryor’s stature in Washington, D.C., continues to grow he still faces a challenge back home against an eager republican opponent next year.
It became obvious within a few minutes of his appearance before the grassroots political group the Delta Caucus, Sen. Pryor was among friends.
“I think the bottom line is … it was a big victory for bi-partisanship,” he said.
Less than 48 hours after a temporary settlement to the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis had been reached, Sen. Pryor was in Memphis to give an audience the insider’s look at how it was brought to an 11th hour end.
As one of the 14 United States senators, a bi-partisan group dubbed the “gang of 14,” Sen. Pryor helped to craft the eventual measure passed by both houses of Congress that was signed by President Barack Obama 90 minutes before the appointed deadline.
“All 14 of us, after it was all over said, ‘Hey, we need to keep doing this,’” Sen. Pryor said. “I mean, we need to find these bi-partisan solutions. We need to make this happen.”
His recognized ability to make things happen in Washington, D.C., has led to the veteran lawmaker being able to successfully sponsor 60 pieces of legislation signed into law during his 11-year tenure. Yet, Sen. Pryor’s re-election to a third term next year still figures to be competitive since his seat has been targeted as being vulnerable by Republican conservatives.
First-term Arkansas Congressman Tom Cotton, a military veteran and a Harvard-educated lawyer, announced in August he will challenge the Democratic incumbent. Though he was unable to attend Friday’s Delta Caucus session, by cellphone State Rep. Cotton voiced his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s no secret that I like to repeal the law,” Rep. Cotton said. “I’ve also voted to defund it. But, when that measure was defeated in the Senate, I voted for compromise and responsible measures to keep the government funded.”
As for Sen. Pryor, he maintains he has no animosity toward those trying to unseat him on the Republican side. But, he sees no end to the type of Congressional gridlock that paralyzed the country for more than two weeks.
“There’s so many people up there that want these one-party solutions,” Sen. Pryor said. “The House right now is really bad about that. They pass all kinds of stuff. It comes out through the House in almost a straight party line vote. It comes over to the Senate and doesn’t have a chance.”
FRIDAY, OCT. 18 REPORT ON CHANNEL 13, MEMPHIS TV ON THE 5:30 NEWS ON ARKANSAS GOVERNOR’S RACE (REPORTER WAS LES SMITH)
ARKANSAS CANDIDATES IN CAMPAIGN MODE
For a brief moment the two men who could be the next governor of the Natural State stood just inches apart. Yet, Asa Hutchinson and Mike Ross were content to pass like ships in the night without even exchanging a hello.
Of course with partisan politics now firmly ruling the day should we have expected anything else?
If “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, then it’s no wonder Arkansas Democrat Gov. Mike Beebe has whole-heartedly endorsed Ross to succeed him next year’s gubernatorial election. Close your eyes and Ross’ campaign rhetoric has a more than familiar ring.
“I think Gov. Beebe has done a good job as our governor,” Ross said. “I don’t want to tear down what he’s spent eight years building up. I want to build on the foundation that Gov. Beebe has laid, especially in the areas of education and job creation.”
Attendees at the Delta Grassroots Caucus got to meet both Ross and Hutchinson, his Republican opponent, as they took both tried to distinguish their political differences in vying to succeed the term-limited Beebe in 2014. While both men previously served in state Congress, it’s clear their ideologies on how to govern are quite far apart.
Hutchinson, who previously ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, says if elected he wants to bring a “global perspective” to Arkansas. As part of his strategy, he is vowing to gradually reduce the state’s current state income tax for companies and individuals to be more business competitive with the neighboring states of Tennessee and Mississippi.
“I think it’s a much better approach to have tax relief that goes to every citizen,” Hutchinson said. “If you reduce the state income tax rate then everyone benefits from that. We’re more competitive in job creation.”
Despite criticism his plan might hurt education funding, Hutchinson believes the money generated by more businesses coming to the state should be adequate to pay for his aggressive push to encourage Arkansans toward getting college degrees. Ross was just as passionate about increasing money to fund early childhood education as the key to the state’s future.
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