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.

Early Registration Deadline Is May 16, 2014 for Delta Event in June at Clinton Library

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 02:54 PM

The early registration deadline is two weeks away on Friday, May 16, 2014 for the Delta Grassroots Caucus conference at the Clinton Presidential Library Great Hall on June 12-13, 2014.

The lower early registration fees of $125 for those who have paid their annual dues and $100 who have paid their dues ends on May 16. For a group of five or more from a local area, we offer group discounts down to $75 each–we want to bring new partners into our activities each year.

After May 16, the late registration fees go up to $150. This is to create an incentive to get the registration fees in on time.

Space is limited and will have to be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so please RSVP now if you have not already done so.

It is always a challenge to notify everyone about this conference who may be interested, because we are dealing with a huge region of eight states and over 10 million people. We post information on the website at, send out regional group email newsletters, and make other communications as widely as we can.

For those who did not know about the May 16 deadline, we will try to apply that flexibly for anyone who learns about the conference at a later date, but we have costs coming due before the conference and we need to avoid situations that we had in the past where many people waited until the day of the conference or even afterward to pay the registration fees. This causes long lines at the front desk when we are trying to get the program started and otherwise complicates matters.

Our basic means of communication are posts on the website at and the group email newsletters, although we do our best to supplement those by all other possible means of communications.

It is always crucial to have a candid dialogue with the powers that be about what actions they will take regarding the region’s economic progress. Confirmed speakers from both parties include:

-Candidates in the hotly contested governors’ race in Asa Hutchinson and Mike Ross,

-Sen. Mark Pryor, Rep. Tom Cotton, US Senate candidates in a race that is drawing national attention;

-Rep. Rick Crawford, incumbent, and 1st District Congressional candidate Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs,

-former FEMA Director and 4th District candidate James Lee Witt (Democrat), (Republican nominee will be invited when we know who that is after the late May primary);

-2nd District candidate Patrick Henry Hays (Democrat), (Republican nominee will be invited when we know who the nominee is, after the late May primary);

Early registration deadline is May 16, 2014. RSVPs are flowing in rapidly each day now. We hope the space does not run out, but if it does it will have to be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

You register by sending in the registration fees to the address listed below in the “Registration” section of this newsletter. There is no registration form, to reduce unnecessary paperwork.


In this newsletter we will cover:

  1. Registration information

  2. Basic Schedule and Speakers

  3. Group hotel

  4. Information about encouraging charitable donation in general to the good cause of your choice across the region; (just as a suggestion, please see the social giving platform at that has innovative ways of encouraging charitable giving, and the Delta Nonprofits Leadership Award will be given to the TOPPS nonprofit in Pine Bluff, AR–this is mentioned strictly as one optional suggestion)

Gov. Mike Beebe has spoken eight years in a row and is invited again this year. Gov. Beebe’s leadership in the passage of the innovative Arkansas private option health care plan with bipartisan support in the Arkansas legislature has drawn national attention and other states are considering it as a model to follow. The governor has done a great job on a wide range of economic development, educational and other initiatives.

President Bill Clinton spoke in person and spent over an hour with us this year. He is invited again this year to speak, probably in another of the superb live call-ins he has done on many previous occasions.

Grassroots leaders from across the region: We will focus on job creation, workforce development, women and children’s issues due to the alarmingly high poverty rates for women and children in our region, renewable energy and the Climate Change Initiative, transportation, broadband expansion and other infrastructure improvements, implementation of the farm bill, health care for underserved areas.

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation stress a range of key issues that are especially poignant for the Greater Delta Region, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and green jobs; economic empowerment for distressed populations; nutrition and especially childhood nutrition; and Secretary Hillary Clinton is one of the leading women’s issues in the world today and is currently leading the global no Ceilings initiative to uplift women and girls in the Delta, the USA and across the world.



–Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA; CEO, GC Barnes Group, LLC; Executive in Residence, University of Arkansas Department of Political Science; Interim Director for International Studies, University of Arkansas; Visiting Professor, Istanbul Technical University;

–Ruby Bright, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, a major philanthropic foundation funding initiatives for women and children in Tennessee and the Mid-South;

–Betty Dobson, nonprofit leader in western Kentucky who highlights the famous Hotel Metropolitan, the only hotel in the area where African Americans could stay in the Jim Crow era and that hosted Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ike and Tina Turner and civil rights leaders;

–Jessica Vermilyea of New Orleans, Louisiana state director for Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response, a leader in helping the recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill;

–Millie Atkins, Louisiana broadband expansion manager for CenturyLink, an organization that promotes broadband expansion for lower-income people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas Delta areas;

–Martha Ellen Black, Missouri nonprofit director, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in the southeast Missouri Delta, former director of the Southeast Missouri Enterprise Community that was a key partner in the Clinton administration’s Delta Regional Initiative;

–Janis Kearney, Founding Publisher of Writing Our World Publishing, Little Rock, AR, and former White House aide in the Clinton administration;

–Director Annette Dove of the TOPPS nonprofit in Pine Bluff was featured by Chelsea Clinton in an excellent national NBC television report with Brian Williams that highlighted her work for nutrition, education, job training and other initiatives for lower income families in Pine Bluff, AR;

–Charlie Cole Chaffin, former state Senator, gubernatorial candidate and educator from Arkansas; Beatrice Shelby, nonprofit director in Phillips County AR of the Boys, Girls and Adults organization, an excellent organization that has won national recognition for their work in the Delta;

–Blanche Hunt, Vice President of Community Relations at Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville, AR, who has an impressive track record in helping women and children in the Delta;

–Karama Neal, Director, Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a major organization promoting community and economic development in the Delta that was founded by then Gov. Bill Clinton, First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Clinton and other key leaders 25 years ago.

Hotly contested elections:

We have an unprecedented number of hotly contested major elections in the region this year. We have confirmed Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson in the governor’s race, Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton (speaking by live call-in, which has worked very well in the past)in the Senate race, Rep. Rick Crawford and Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs in the First District, James Lee Witt and whoever wins the Republican primary in the Fourth, Patrick Henry Hays and the Republican nominee in the Second.

Substantive Congressional issues are generally similar across the eight states: The Congressional elections will deal with issues that are quite similar to those in other states. We encourage all partners from all eight states to engage in a dialogue with the Arkansas leaders about the key issues that Members from Congress from all eight states will have to deal with.

As a general rule, Members of Congress and governors only participate at events in their own states or in Washington, DC. We plan to hold events over time in other states and in Washington, DC in the future to include as many states as possible.


You register by mailing in the registration fees to the address below. We do not ask for registration forms to reduce paperwork.

Registration fees are $125 for those who have not paid their annual dues, and $100 for those who have paid their annual dues of $25 once each calendar year.

GROUP DISCOUNTS: We give group discounts for local areas who can organize a group of five or more attendees locally. This reduces the registration by $25 for each attendee. For larger groups of 10 or more from a local area, larger group discounts are available.

For the registration fees, please make out the checks to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601


Early registration ends on May 16, 2014. After that date, registrations go up to $150 each.

The late registration is to provide an incentive to get the registration fees in on time, because in previous years we often had the great majority of the registration fees come in right before the conference, at the front desk at the time of the conference, or even after it was over.

For planning purposes we need to know how many people are coming. We also have bills coming due well before the conference.

Attention to Clinton Foundation priorities:

In addition to hearing from the Congressional and gubernatorial candidates on what they plan to do to promote community and economic development in the Delta if elected, we want to devote time key issues that are top priorities for both the Delta Grassroots Caucus as well as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation:

–job creation and economic progress for impoverished areas,

–women and children’s issues-particularly for single mothers and lower-income women,

–nutrition-including childhood and youth nutrition,

–and renewable energy, energy efficiency and the Climate Change Initiative.

We want to give some specific attention to women and children’s issues this time around, because the poverty rate for single mothers and children is disturbingly high in our region. We know there are plenty of men suffering economically as well, but we have not previously given specific attention to the women and children’s issues. The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is emphasizing those issues now, and the time is right to include women and children’s issues along with job creation and other key issues.

Other key issues include transportation and infrastructure investments to create jobs and improve our deteriorating infrastructure, health care for under-served areas, broadband expansion, small business/entrepreneurial development, Delta heritage tourism like the Delta Queen Senate bill, USDA-related issues, and other key regional initiatives.

That was great last year that President Clinton came and spent over an hour with us in person.

This year we plan to ask President Clinton to give a live audio and/or video presentation at the conference, as he has done frequently in the past. The conference is bipartisan, of course, and the Clinton Foundation does great philanthropic work.


Thursday evening, June 12, 2014, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Clinton Library Great Hall

Friday, June 13, 2014, from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Clinton Library Great Hall

Both sessions are at the Clinton Library Great Hall this year.


The group hotel is Comfort Inn Presidential in downtown Little Rock near the Clinton Library, 707 Interstate Frontage Rd, 72202. To get the reduced group rate of $82 for Thursday, June 12 (and if you would like to also stay on Friday, June 13, the reduced group rate is available for that night as well), please call the hotel at (501) 687-7700 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group.

Many people only stay one night at the hotel to reduce costs. You can check out of the hotel on Friday morning, June 13, store your luggage there and then come back and pick it up when the conference ends that afternoon.

Both sessions are important, and opening session is NOT a reception but is a substantive session starting with speakers promptly at 4:30 and continuing to about 7:45 p.m.

Then we meet for most of the day on Friday, June 13 from about 8:15 a.m. to about 3 p.m.

Please Give to the Nonprofit Good Cause of Your Choice in the Delta

We would like to encourage people to remember and make charitable donations to the many nonprofit good causes across our vast region of eight states and over 10 million people.

As one suggestion for meritorious giving, please see the social giving platform of the Sharemeister organization at There are hundreds of good causes on the website and you can give using a debit or credit card.

Sharemeister is a new organization that exists strictly for the purpose of encouraging charitable giving in the USA. It is not confined to the Greater Delta Region, but its CEO is Marlon Henderson who is originally from Jonesboro in eastern Arkansas, so Sharemeister has strong ties to our region.

Again, the Sharemeister website is at

We plan to honor an exemplary nonprofit at each of our major regional conferences with the “Delta Nonprofit Leadership Award.” The main benefit of this to a small, exemplary nonprofit is the honor and positive publicity. Strictly as an optional matter, if people would like to contribute $5 or $10 or some other small amount to the recipient of this award at each major conference, that would be beneficial; this is just a suggestion and no one should feel any obligation whatsoever to give to the recipient of the award.

We receive nominations over a period of months and we encourage professionals working in the region to send in nominations, and all the nominees are exemplary small nonprofits across the region. We narrow it down to five nonprofits and then choose the recipient by lot–to avoid any appearance of picking anyone’s personal favorite, since all of them are worthy–and we will rotate the recipient over the years and consider geographical, ethnic, gender and other forms of diversity.

One key point is to practice what we preach and make suggestions about good recipients, rather than just a generalized, vague comment that “Gee, everybody ought to make charitable donations;” it’s always better to lead by example and actually do a minor, optional fundraiser.

The other key point to this award is to remind people about the tremendous importance of giving to the local charity or favorite charity of your choice.

For this period of several months through the June 12-13 Delta conference and on to July 4, we plan to honor the TOPPS (Targeting Our People’s Priorities with Service) in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. If people would like to contribute a small amount to that exemplary nonprofit, that is certainly money well invested for a good cause. You can go to the Sharemeister website to do so or we will have the contact information at the conference.

You can add $5 or whatever amount to your registration fees when you mail those in to the Delta Caucus address listed above and we will know that was meant for the TOPPS effort and pass that along to TOPPS.

Annette Dove and TOPPS do a great deal of constructive work in nutrition, education, job training and mentoring for young people in the Pine Bluff, AR area. Annette Dove will be one of the speakers at the conference.

Please send in nominations for other exemplary, small nonprofits working in local areas across the Delta. Since we are a grassroots organization, the nonprofit in question for this particular award should be a small one that works in one local area.

Large foundations are also excellent recipients of donations, so again if your preference is to make a donation to a large foundation, please do so. This particular award is designed to go to a small, local nonprofit.

We need to rotate the award to other states. Since the recipient now is an Arkansas nonprofit, the next nonprofit should come from one of the other seven states.

The fundraising amount is expected to be quite modest, so the fundamental reason for doing this is for the honor and the positive publicity, and to “find the good and praise it.” The minor fundraising part of it is just so that we are practicing what we preach about making charitable donations and taking an action, even if it’s small in and of itself. Many small efforts add up to a substantial benefit over time.