The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Save the Dates of Oct. 17-18, 2013 Delta Conference in Memphis, Tennessee

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 02:02 PM

Please save the dates for October 17-18, 2013 for our annual Delta Caucus regional conference in the Memphis area, which will enable us to include many more grassroots partners from the eastern and central parts of the Greater Delta Region. Memphis is a great location at the heart of the region.

Mayor A. C. Wharton, Jr. of Memphis is already confirmed as one of the luncheon speakers on Friday, Oct. 18. Congressman Steve Cohen did a great job of speaking at last year’s conference in West Memphis and he is invited again this year, although he confirms later in the process due to his very busy schedule as a senior Member of Congress. Other Members of Congress and leaders from across the region will be invited as well. We are in the earliest stages of planning for the conference.

The opening session will be Thursday evening, Oct. 17, 2013 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. (This is an important substantive session and is NOT a reception.)

The longer session is Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

We are working on finalizing the meeting location within the City of Memphis and will inform you about this as soon as it is confirmed.

Having a major conference in Memphis along with the conference at the Clinton Center in Little Rock, our Washington, DC activities and other meetings will help us be more inclusive. By meeting in Memphis, we make it much more easier for many west Tennessee, northern Mississippi, easternmost Arkansas, western Kentucky, southeast Missouri, and southern Illinois to participate.

We are planning to hold a meeting in northern Louisiana to expand our Louisiana partners at some point in the annual cycle from 2013 to January, 2014.

We will have speakers from all eight states at the Oct. 17-18 conference, but naturally we want to have a substantial number from our host state of Tennessee, including Mayor Wharton, Rep. Cohen (invited), and many others. We have also confirmed the following Delta grassroots partners from west Tennessee:

–Minnie Bommer, City Council member of Covington, Tennessee and long-time Delta regional advocate going back to the Clinton administration and earlier;

–Alan Gumbel, another veteran Delta regional advocate and now Director of Performance and Quality Improvement with the Memphis Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA);

–Srikant Gir, Co-Director for the Center for Biofuels, Energy and Sustainable Technologies at the University of Memphis, who is involved in important, innovative activities in the field of renewable energy;

–Greg Maxted, executive director for the Harahan Bridge Project across the Mississippi River between Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas.

We also plan to invite a number of other west Tennessee speakers as well as representatives from each of the eight Delta states.

We are also following up on Bob Nash’s correct emphasis on the need to bring in younger folks into our organization. One example is Marlon Henderson of Sharemeister, Inc., a new company that develops innovative ways of raising funds for nonprofits and good causes in the Delta and across the region.

We have plans to utilize the Delta Caucus’ regional bully pulpit to engage in activities to raise funds for good causes in the region in conjunction with this conference, and Marlon Henderson will be speaking at the conference on how we go about doing that.

Changes–we ask for much earlier notice from partners in informing us as to whether they plan to attend our activities: Most partners already do this, but some do not. We do need to make a few changes: one is that we need to ask for reasonable notice as to whether our partners are planning to attend these events. We want to include everybody who is committed to a collaborative, regional effort to promote economic development, but we have been inundated by requests to take part at the last minute–in the last few days and even literally minutes before the conference starts–and this is just not good for our planning.

For that reason, we have early registration fees, and then late registration fees go up to a higher level to provide an incentive to get them in on time. The fees go up after Oct. 3, 2013.

(NOTE: To be placed on the group email newsletter list, please send a request to Lee Powell at

We had a total of 175 people who were there for at least parts of the May conference. We have expanded to the point where we need to ask for reasonable notice as to whether people plan to attend, and hope you understand the need to do this.

We need to take the additional step in addition to the higher late registration fees that we need to know whether you plan to attend by Oct. 10, 2013. At close of business on Oct. 10, the attendees list will be final and we will not be able to add any others.

We will be sure and include those who wanted to come but missed the deadline at our next event. The last several days before a conference we need to be 100% focused on the agenda, dealing with the main speakers, media coverage, fundamental logistics, and it complicates matters if we have to devote substantial amounts of time dealing with last-minute attendees, and we hope you understand this.

We are increasing the number of our events from two to four events a year, plus some smaller meetings and the daily advocacy over the internet, website, group emails, and phone communications. If you miss one event we will make every effort to include you the next time.

For those who have paid their annual dues, registration fees are $100. For those who have not paid annual membership dues, the registration is $125.

For those who register after the early registration deadline of Oct. 3, 2013, Thursday, close of business, the late registration fees will be $150.

You can cut your costs by registering in a group of five or more, thus reducing each registration fee down to $75 each.

Please make out the early registration fees in the amount of $125, or $100 for those who have already paid their annual membership dues, and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

We will be glad to inform each one of you on request to refresh your memory as to whether your dues have been paid.

We would like to thank the unprecedented number of people who gave positive feedback about our May, 2013 conference at the Clinton Presidential Center. Many people said they thought it was our best conference yet. It took a big regional team working together to make it a success and thanks a million to all of you who were so helpful throughout the process!

We were honored to have participation from President Bill Clinton, Gov. Mike Beebe, US Sen. Mark Pryor, US Sen. John Boozman, US Rep. Tom Cotton, the major gubernatorial candidates in former US Rep. Asa Hutchinson, former US Rep. Mike Ross, former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, businessman Curtis Coleman, representatives from major foundations and corporations like the Foundation for the Mid-South, Hope Enterprise Corp./Hope Credit Union, Mid-South Delta LISC, Heifer International and the Seeds of Change project partners in east Arkansas, Southern Bancorp and their partners, many other nonprofits, small business leaders, universities and colleges, a group of distinguished energy policy experts from the region including former US Assistant Secretary of the Interior Ken Smith, former US Dept. of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, former White House Presidential Personnel Director and earlier USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Bob Nash, former FEMA Associate Director Kay Goss, author and White House aide Janis Kearney, Delta Regional Authority officials, USDA officials, state officials, Dean James “Skip” Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, and many other regional leaders.

While we are very pleased by the accolades we received, any conference and any activity can always be further enhanced and fine-tuned. We have reduced the length of our conferences, which used to go on until almost 5 p.m., so that we ended this one at 3 p.m.

We plan to aim at stopping again at about 2:45 or 3 p.m., because there is so much information and so many dynamic participants that people naturally get a little tired by the late afternoon.

We want to include as many people as possible, but we have been reducing the number of speakers at recent conferences and we plan to reduce them slightly again this time, with the caveat being that we absolutely have to include all eight states, experts on a range of key regional issues, and a number of high-level officials like Mayor Wharton of Memphis, Congressman Cohen and other Members of Congress, as well as private sector leaders.

It is the nature of a grassroots regional coalition engaging in a dialogue with the state and federal “powers that be” that we have to have a jam-packed agenda-there are just so many activities, issues, organizations, and a vast geographical area to cover. Getting the right balance of including many voices while giving each one sufficient time is actually quite difficult, but we analyze and review each conference thoroughly and we can always improve. We plan for the events to get better and better each year.

The organizational structure is on the website at We welcome feedback. Our board of directors, 20-member senior advisory committee, as well as hundreds of partners across the region are all welcome to give us feedback all the time, and we operate by trying to develop as broad a consensus as possible.

We look forward to including many existing partners and adding new ones at the Oct. 17-18 Delta Caucus regional community and economic development conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Delta Caucus board of directors (202) 360-6347