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Demonstration and Incubation

MDC has been demonstrating and incubating sustainable solutions to social and economic inequities nearly since its founding in 1967--long before the field of social entrepreneurship entered the public consciousness. We played key roles, for instance, in the design and creation of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, the Foundation for the Mid South, and most recently incubated the Achieving the Dream initiative after serving for six years as its managing partner.

Much of our work is place-based, and we believe in the importance of creating long-term change though seeding communities with programs aimed at strategic needs, scaling them up, and finding ways for them to become self-sustaining. That means working with communities and organizations--particularly community colleges and community foundations--to use data and historical research to assess the suitability of various solutions for their organization or community. We then help them identify the best ones to suit their needs, create demonstration projects using models that have proven effective at removing barriers, implement them at demonstration scale, and then evaluate their effectiveness and refine them to work even better. 

Finally, we help communities and organizations incubate those solutions so they can become long-term and sustainable—identifying ways to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency and finding the resources to allow them to continue. 
 
The solutions then can be implemented at scale. Sometimes that means changing policies and the way things are done. Sometimes it means creating new organizations or larger programs. It always includes passing along the knowledge gained to a wide array of leaders so they continue to understand and address those issues and replicate the solutions. Only then can they achieve their full, potential impact—equity and opportunity for all.