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Past Projects: Economic Security

Each year, North Carolina workers lose more than $200 million, up to $5,949 per family, because they fail to claim their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC can be a vital tool in helping people save for education and training, pay for transportation, start a small business or finance a home. Because most of the money would be spent locally, the state annually loses $250 million that could boost the economy of the most disadvantaged communities.
Rural America has abundant assets and is crucial to the economic and social vitality of the nation. Yet in rural areas, many of the basic services that contribute to people's quality of life, such as health care, transportation, and education, lag behind the rest of the United States. The brightest potential emerges when a critical mass of America's 55 million rural residents are stronger and more organized at advocating for the policies that serve their interests.
Disadvantaged households--such as low-wealth families, children and older adults, people with disabilities, and racial and ethnic minorities--suffer disproportionately during major disasters, be they hurricanes, floods, or industrial accidents. Before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and focused the nation's attention on the suffering it inflicted, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was launching the Emergency Preparedness Demonstration to understand the barriers that prevent disadvantaged communities from being aware of and prepared for disasters.
The Emergency Preparedness Demonstration was a program to better prepare disadvantaged groups for future disaster events. A joint initiative of MDC and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the demonstration program was supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help disadvantaged communities in six states and the District of Columbia prepare for disasters.
The Strategic Network for Community Philanthropy was a Ford Foundation initiative managed by MDC to develop resources and community capacity, particularly in the American South, to promote social and racial equality.
MDC worked with the Danville Regional Foundation through a community assessment process that examined economic development prospects for the area as well as education, workforce, and health outcomes so that the Foundation could be strategic in its work in the region.
The Jacksonville (FL) Community Foundation, with funding from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, managed a community development initiative to effect community-wide, systemic change on behalf of children, families, and neighborhoods. Goals included leveraging additional investments; increasing the resources and strategies for promoting positive life outcomes for all children and families; and developing the capacity of local nonprofits to assess their work and collaborate on change efforts. MDC provided strategic technical assistance and documented the Community Building Fund's experiences.
Learning from Constructive Failures was a project supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to learn from mistakes made in the field of community economic development. The objective of the project was to identify the lessons learned from mistakes made in the design and implementation of economic development initiatives so that nonprofits can boost their capacity to manage complex community economic development efforts.
MDC was selected as managing partner for a Ford Foundation initiative to develop resources and community capacity in the South to promote social and racial equality. Project ran from 2003-2007