Daily Point of Light # 1950 Jul 25, 2001

Lee County Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a community based 501(c)(3) organization established in July 1996. Governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, with each director representing various communities geographically located within Lee County. The mission is to improve the quality of life for all residents by stimulating training, employment opportunities and increasing business activities, which lead to self-sufficiency. The vision is a unified county working together to create diversified economic activity within a globally competitive market.

The programs and activities adopted by Lee County CDC have assisted the organization to fulfill its goals to build the community and the Lower Mississippi Delta Region, focusing on building the leadership capacity of area youth. Lee County has been ranked among the 20 poorest counties in the nation. Most of its constituencies are low-income families that have been historically deprive or disconnected from the general community. The Lee County CDC offers assistance in affordable housing opportunities, technology training, and small business development opportunities. Lee County CDC serves as a training site for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and AmeriCorps services.

Lee County CDC youth volunteers assist community members obtain the tools needed to achieve self-sufficiency. Corp members and community youth are involved in all aspects of the organization’s programmatic activities offered to the community residents. These activities include serving as community outreach workers who inform the community of the programs and activities available. Other programmatic activities include the housing programs in which several AmeriCorps members have served as volunteers in the complex process of assisting low-income families and individuals to construct their homes in the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program and assisting applicants in completing their housing applications for mortgage loans.

The technology training programs have served as a valuable asset for the community and the entire region. Local youth have received training, which allows them to serve as technology coaches in the community technology centers. The most recent program involved training AmeriCorps members to repair computers and host community technology literacy training sessions.

To date the Lee County CDCs housing programs have succeeded in assisting more than 40 families in Lee County to realize their dream of homeownership and building wealth in local communities. The Business Development and Technology programs have assisted hundreds of individuals to improve or enhance their skills to allow them to obtain jobs or start businesses making livable wages to support their families.

Lee County CDC recently received an award from Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and Fannie Mae Foundation for “Outstanding Achievements of a Young CDC.” The Board of Directors and staff members attribute the organization’s success, in part, to the support and assistance received from the young community volunteers. The efforts of these volunteers help to make a positive impact on local communities and the Delta Region.