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.

Membership in the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus, 2008-2009

We would like to ask all organizations, chambers of commerce, individuals, municipal or county governments, businesses, corporations, foundations, universities and colleges, faith-based groups, and others interested in promoting community and economic development to consider contributing to become sponsors for the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus anuual cycle of activities.

We would like to express special appreciation for a number of organizations that have given at high levels ranging from what we call the Lead Heritage Level of $3,000 to $5,000 every year for many years, as well as others who have given $1,000 a year for many years.


Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas


Heifer International

Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC

For the national summit led by the Economic Equality Coalition for Nov. 4-5, 2015, some of the contributions will have to be at much higher levels due to the national and more expensive nature of this event. However, we still express great appreciation for our long-time supporters, and the Delta Grassroots Caucus would not have risen to the stature it has to be able to serve as one of the key organizers for a national conference like that without the support of literally hundreds of organizations and individuals over the years.

LEAD SPONSORS–Our most prominent lead sponsor in recent years is Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, based in Blytheville, Arkansas.

We appreciate their generous support of the Delta Grassroots Caucus, but even more than that we appreciate their superb leadership and their example as a great role model in pursuing enlightened policies in promoting a brighter future for the people of our region.

The Lead Sponsorship range is between $10,000 and $5,000, depending on whether you are contributing for both conferences and the year-round program, or one conference.

For example, Fed Ex contributed $10,000 in 2013, and that was and is greatly appreciated.

MAJOR CO-SPONSORS: Our sponsors who contributed at the rate of $1,000 to $2,000–which is the “major co-sponsor” level (depending on whether they contribute for two conferences and the year-round program or just one conference) were:

  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship–Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas state organizations, and national headquarters based in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Siemens, Inc.
  • Heifer International
  • Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC
  • Inspire Hope Institute, headquarters in Paragould, Arkansas (chaired by Laymon Jones)
  • Entergy Corporation
  • City of Sikeston, Missouri
  • City of Carbondale, Illinois *McLean Institute, University of Mississippi

This is a partial list and we continue to update it.

SPONSORS: We have had many sponsors at the level of $250 to $350. Given the large number of these, they add up to a substantial total.

We will extend appreciation to all sponsors on the display placards at our annual conferences in Little Rock, Arkansas, Washington, DC, and in other locations such as Memphis, West Memphis, and Helena-West Helena, AR where we have convened major conferences over the years. We give recognition as well on our website, in messages to our email network across the region, and other communications. You will be contributing to a worthy cause for the advancement of the eight-state Delta region.

THANKS TO MAJOR COSPONSORS: We would like to thank organizations who have contributed at the “major cosponsor” level at various times over the years, beginning with the Heritage Sponsors named above, Southern Bancorp, Entergy, and including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship organizations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and their national headquarters in Atlanta, the City of Carbondale, Illinois, and others.

REGISTRATION FEES AND ANNUAL DUES: In addition, we need to ask all participants in regional conferences in Arkansas, the Memphis, Tennessee area, Washington, DC and Louisiana to send in their $100 registration fees. We may have space limitations this time so we will have to allot space on a first come, first served basis.

If you would like to support our work as a grassroots public interest advocacy organization, please make out the checks for annual membership dues to “Delta Caucus,” and mail it to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus
5030 Purslane Place
Waldorf, MD 20601

For all individuals and organizations who support the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus’ work in promoting a brighter economic future for the eight-state Greater Delta Region, we would like to request that you send in your annual membership dues in the amounts of $25, $50, or $100 or $150, depending on your size, situation and budget.

Even if you decide to send in your dues at the lower levels of $50 or $25, please understand that we have such a large pool of supporters to draw from across the eight states from southern Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana and east to Selma, Alabama, as well as in Washington, DC, that the large number of small contributions really adds up.

The main reason to contribute, of course, is to support our work for the region’s community and economic development. In addition, members who have paid the dues will receive all the messages that we send out about important regional issues. A great deal of research and consultations go into these messages and they are a significant informational resource.

These dues are a crucial part of our budget.

SPECIFIC ROLE OF THE DELTA CAUCUS: The Delta Caucus is the regional grassroots, advocacy/communications organization with partners in all eight states of the region, Washington, DC and elsewhere across the country among people interested in the Delta’s community and economic development. There are many other great organizations working on the many other phases of the region’s development, or in particular local areas, or specific issues, or working through different strategies, and we applaud their work and work with them every day.

Having a regional coalition in all eight states and DC engaged in a combination of a limited amount of lobbying plus widespread advocacy and communications activities are our key, specific roles.

Most of our activities do NOT involve lobbying. Less than 20% of our activities have any connection to lobbying, with most of our work focused on disseminating information about substantive issues, best practices and role models for community and economic development across the region, and the logistics of coordinating our activities.

We advocate for people like you or people you know–the working families, lower-income to middle-income people of the Delta region, businesses, nonprofit organizations, mayors, county administrators and other local elected officials, universities, colleges, K-12 educators, experts in health care, renewable energy, transportation, housing, and others working in the real world of building a better economy for the Delta. And we never forget the impoverished people as well. This is still relatively speaking the most impoverished region of America.

WE’RE NOT WEALTHY, ELITIST ADVOCATES, AND WE NEVER WILL BE: We are not funded by large numbers of large contributions from wealthy special interests and therefore we are not in any way like the expensive, “K-Street” lobbyists that have gotten such a bad reputation in Washington, DC. We never will be like the super-wealthy K Street bunch, and we’re proud of it. We are not in the pockets of the wealthy special interests, because our funding primarily comes from those of you in this network of supporters of our region’s broad-based community and economic development.

YEAR-ROUND PROGRAM FOR THE DELTA: Our year-round program of advocacy, communications, and education about Delta regional issues includes activities every day. The Delta Grassroots Caucus’ activities are now so numerous that it would take far too much space to list them all here, but we might hit a few highlights–the Senate Appropriations Committee voted in earlier years for an increase up to $20 million for the Delta Regional Authority, an agency that the Delta Grassroots Caucus vigorously supports in its regional economic development work.

Our long-term goal is to return the DRA budget first to at least the $30 million level originally envisaged when President Clinton signed the legislation creating the agency into law in 2000 with bipartisan support in Congress.

Most importantly, the DRA budget needs to be placed on a plane of equality with the Appalachian Regional Commission, which has always enjoyed a vastly larger budget in the range of $70 million a year through the energy and water bill and another program into the hundreds of millions of dollars for the Appalachian highway program. For the long term, the DRA budget ought to be similar, in all fairness and equality.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus joined other organizations in disseminating information about USDA programs and budget issues, renewable energy, rural housing and other rural development initiatives, legislation supporting Medicare and other vital health care programs, federal nutrition programs, legislation regarding the housing market troubles, and other major bills that have a vital impact on our region. We will continue to do so every month and every year.

WIDE RANGE OF ACTIVITIES: We are also continuing to disseminate information on a wide range of other legislation on alternative energy, health care–including hunger and nutrition issues, job creation and reviving the economy, education, housing, disaster relief and reforms of FEMA, promotion of tourism, and other major issues. We are certainly getting increasing attention from Congress: we have been averaging at least 15 Members of Congress from both parties participating at our annual conference in Washington, DC, and we had meetings in their offices with a total of 30 Members of Congress. Other speakers featured two former Members of the Cabinet in the Hon. Rodney Slater and the Hon. Hershel Gober, many other national executive branch officials, and grassroots leaders representing every one of the eight Delta states.

Former President Bill Clinton, Members of Congress, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Gov. Mike Beebe (D-AR) have frequently been among the featured speakers at the Arkansas conferences at the Clinton Library.

We also work on smaller-scale but nonetheless worthwhile efforts such as the efforts to save the tradition of steamboating on the Mississippi; historic steamboats like the American Queen generate tourist dollars in many communities from New Orleans and all the way up the Mighty Mississippi.

GROWTH OF THE DELTA CAUCUS: Our overall activities in support of economic development in the Delta region are stronger than they have ever been. Giving these annual membership dues will help increase the effectiveness of our organization, which has grown tremendously the past five years. The budget will need to grow along with the overall organizational growth.

THE POWER OF HAVING EVERYBODY PAY THEIR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES– We would respectfully ask EVERYBODY who supports our cause to contribute annual membership dues. The $150, $100, $50 and $25 contributions add up because we have such a large pool of people to draw from. But it is now very uneven as to who contributes and who doesn’t. We have people like Desha County Judge Mark McElroy, for example, who has already contributed his $100 membership from his county government funds, and has been generous enough to indicate that he will contribute another $100 from his own pocket. We know everybody won’t be that generous, but everybody can at least contribute something–even if only $50 or so.

To give you an idea of the financial power it would generate if everybody would send in their annual membership dues, we now have a basic email address list of over 1,500 people. Maybe 100 or so get knocked out by spam blockers or the addresses are incorrect. But if all of the approximately 1,400 people who are on the email list and receive the messages–and they are on there because they are in some way involved in the Delta’s economy, either in the region or in Washington, DC–contributed an average of $50 each. That would generate $70,000 –enough to give us a very strong budget by itself, even not counting other parts of our contributions apart from membership dues.

Alternatively and more conservatively, let’s say that we get even half of that from membership dues, for a total of $35,000 in annual membership dues. In combination with other sources of funding, that would give us a very strong budget as well.

In the age of the internet you CAN raise large amounts of money through large numbers of modest contributions. For a grassroots coalition over a large region, getting large number of modest contributions and having a diversified source of contributions are the best fund-raising policies to follow, as we have discussed many times before. As a regional grassroots coalition, we cannot be beholden to a few “big pockets” wealthy donors for our budget.

The contributions can come in at various levels, depending on the size and financial situation of each contributor.

Suggested contribution levels for membership dues:

  • $25–individuals or organizations with very limited budgets

  • $50–individuals or organizations with somewhat larger budgets, such as medium-sized nonprofits, small businesses, medium-sized chambers of commerce, etc.

  • $100–corporations, businesses, small banks, larger chambers of commerce or nonprofits, universities or colleges, municipal governments, county governments

  • $150–larger entities, corporations, businesses, banks, larger universities, larger municipal governments, or individuals who wish to contribute at a higher level

  • $200 and above–this pays your annual membership dues and also qualifies you and/ or your organization to be one of the official sponsors for the Delta Grassroots Caucus’ 2008-2009 annual cycle of activities.

Again, these annual membership dues are a crucial part of our budget. If everybody pays them, our budget will be in excellent shape, and by the same token, if everybody says, “Oh, what difference could my modest contribution possibly make?”, then our budget will suffer. Remember the wisdom of British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke’s statement: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

We also need to make clear that conference registration fees are a separate category, because the two conferences in Arkansas and Washington, DC are expensive. Even though we cut costs to the bone in every way we can think of, it just takes a certain amount of money to put on conferences involving a total of over 200 people over three days. The registration fees cover most but certainly not all of the costs for labor, equipment, food and beverages, rental space, documents, and other costs of these conferences. Sponsorship contributions make up the difference. The annual membership dues pay for our year-round, daily program of advocacy, communications and lobbying for the Delta.

DAY TO DAY COSTS OF DELTA CAUCUS OPERATIONS: The annual membership dues cover the day to day costs of our operations. Over the course of a year, this is the most important component of our overall work. We have to stay in touch with Congressional offices, national executive branch officials, governors’ offices, state legislators, and our grassroots partners’ network all the time in having a dialogue with the powers that be about legislation that has a major impact on economic development in the Greater Delta Region. The major conferences reinforce that daily and weekly work, but those conferences only happen two weeks out of the year.


  • Mississippi County Equal Opportunity Commission, Blytheville, Arkansas
  • First Bank of the Delta, Helena-West Helena, Arkansas
  • Mayor Brad Cole, Carbondale, Illinois
  • Hayes Dent, Yazoo City, Mississippi
  • Heifer International
  • Pemiscot County Port Authority, Caruthersville, Missouri
  • Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi
  • Mid-South Community College, West Memphis, Arkansas
  • Coahoma College, Clarskdale, Mississippi
  • Pulaski County (Illinois) Development Association, Mounds, southern Illinois
  • Dr. Betty Kennedy, Delta Obesity Prevention Program, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Grambling State University, Grambling University
  • Clifton Avant, Entergy Louisiana
  • Martha Ellen Black, executive director, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center, East Prairie, Missouri
  • City of Sikeston, Missouri
  • City of Wheatley, Arkansas
  • Louisiana Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, New Orleans area
  • Mississippi Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
  • Arkansas Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship national headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Rep. Mark McElroy
  • Flora Simon and Onie Norman, Dumas, Arkansas
  • David Lambert, Washington, DC
  • Mid-South Delta Local Initiatives Support Corporation, (LISC), Greenville, Mississippi
  • Arkansas State University College of Nursing & Health Professions
  • Mayor of Dumas, Arkansas
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • Arkansas Municipal League

SPONSORSHIPS–Although the annual membership dues and registration fees are a vital part of our budget, the other essential components of the budget are the sponsorships.

For the Economic Equality Coalition event, sponsorships will have to be substantially higher than for the Arkansas conferences.

SPONSORS: We have had over 25 sponsors at the level of $250 to $350, including many of those we listed above who have already paid their annual dues for 2008-2009, as well as the following:

  • The late Chicot County, Arkansas County Judge Fred Zieman, who passed away in early 2008. He was always a great champion not only for Chicot County but the whole Delta region, and he is greatly missed.
  • Shawnee Community College, Ullin, Illinois
  • Merchants & Farmers Bank, Dumas, Arkansas
  • Municipal League of Arkansas
  • First State Bank & Trust, Caruthersville, Missouri
  • Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc., Missouri
  • Great River Economic Development Foundation, Blytheville, Arkansas
  • Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission, Blytheville, Arkansas
  • Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center, East Prairie, Missouri
  • Delta Citizens Alliance, Greenville, Mississippi
  • First Bank of the Delta, Phillips County, Arkansas
  • Writing Our World Press, Jonesboro, Arkansas (led by Janis Kearney, author and former White House aide)

PERSEVERANCE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IS KEY–We need to take a page out of our Appalachian regional colleagues book, because they understand that perseverance is the key in regional development, and you have to keep at it, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Your contribution of annual membership dues is a powerful weapon for the Delta Grassroots Caucus’ work in promoting the economic development of the Greater Delta Region. Thank you very much. Lee Riley Powell, executive director, Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347