NEW! Pathways to Prosperity: Building Climate Resilience


The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) partners with policy thinkers and doers to amplify their efforts and bridge gaps in policy infrastructure. We act as a connector, convener, and policy entrepreneur across issues and states, translating good ideas to the Southern context. Our goal is to advance policies that improve economic security, healthcare access, and environmental justice for all Southerners.



Our Dollars, Our Dreams is a SEAP initiative that empowers Southern communities to take ownership of the billions in federal funding currently available. By providing research on equity efforts, resources to help partners secure funds and connections between partners to share best practices, the campaign helps level the playing field so communities can secure public dollars to build a better future. We should all have a say in achieving the potential of the South.

We provide pro bono support for Southern organizations, including grant writing, project ideation and management, strategic planning, data and survey collection, performing research, and identifying best practices.

In response to a desire for community building, we are connecting organizations to share tactics, build relationships, and spread innovations.

Our research will study the challenges and needs of small local governments and advocates in accessing federal resources. 

SEAP is seeking to connect with Southern-based 501c3s and local governments interested in applying for the EPA Community Change Grant which promotes incorporating climate-friendly solutions to solve tough societal problems and increase community participation in government. SEAP can provide pro bono services that match Southern leaders with specialists who offer a wide range of technical assistance including grant writing, data and research, capacity building and long-term strategic and organizational planning. Fill out our interest form or sign up for office hours to connect with our team and get started! 

Are you considering applying for the 2024 Community Change Grant? Our Decision Tree tool is here to help. Designed to align with NOFO1 guidelines, this tool will guide you through a series of questions to evaluate if your project meets the grant’s funding criteria. It’s an effective way to confirm your project’s preparedness, identify areas for improvement, and understand if you’re ready for the grant preparation stage. Discover if your project is a fit for the grant – try our Decision Tree today!

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The Our Dollars, Our Dreams initiative is gearing up for its full-scale launch this mid-February. This launch marks the unveiling of an expanded suite of resources and tools designed to transform the landscape of federal funding in the Southern regions. Our Dollars, Our Dreams will provide unparalleled access to technical assistance, network-building opportunities, and vital research insights, all tailored to empower our communities and families. Stay tuned for more details.


NEW! Pathways to Prosperity Building Climate Resilience
This comprehensive report details both the impacts of climate change and the potential for federal investments to target the inequities these impacts create and compound. This edition focuses on people living in Southern states, a group particularly at risk.
Access Report Here
NEW: Framework for Tracking Rise of Large Corporate Landlords in Single-Family Rentals
This paper dives into how current real estate processes can exacerbate existing inequalities during disaster recovery. In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis and the rise of investment in single-family rentals, there is a growing interest in the effect rental property investors might have on various outcomes for low-income tenants.
Access Framework Here
New Survey Results: Reveal Food Security as an Emerging Top Challenge in LA, SC and TN
The poverty rate in Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee all exceed 14%, with Louisiana having the highest rate at nearly 20%. Helping to change this narrative are large Federal investments like the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). SEAP conducted a survey throughout February and March 2023 to gain insight into food-insecure residents’ challenges and how they would like their leaders to address them with federal funding.
Climate Report
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), formally named the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, made historic levels of funding available for investments in transportation, climate mitigation and resilience, environmental protection, and broadband access. To accompany the comprehensive guidebook and data released by the White House, this guide offers a step-by-step approach to identifying funding for initiatives that work synergistically to lower carbon emissions, build resiliency, and prioritize equity.
Federal Funding Implementation Report
Gathering insight from more than 50 stakeholders, SEAP released its report, Engagement & Equity First: Opportunities and Challenges for Federal Funding Implementation, which aims to identify innovations and challenges among local governments and nonprofit organizations as they implement federal recovery funds. The hope is that identifying these challenges leads to lawmakers inviting more community voices to the table for spending decisions and more equitable outcomes that will change the landscape of many Southern communities.
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SEAP has a direct focus on 12 Southern states. And while significant wins are happening in each, our team understands the need for more work to be done. Together, we know that progress is possible.

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Aligning with its mission and vision, the SEAP seeks out, develops and maintains strong partnerships with hundreds of leaders and organizations throughout the South. From technical assistance to microgrants, SEAP has helped implement policies that improve the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable Southern communities and families.

Hover over your state to see SEAP’s latest impact near you!

In 2022, the Student Basic Needs Coalition (SBNC) West Virginia State Coalition introduced legislation to support the development of a basic needs office within student services. The bill, HB 4705, states that “at least one-third of two-year students are housing insecure, including up to 14 percent who are homeless, whereas up to 19 percent of four-year students are housing insecure.”

Families First in Cabarrus County, Inc., of North Carolina, a recipient of SEAP's 2022 COVID-19 Vaccine Community Outreach grant, are using funds to educate and vaccinate more members of the Hispanic community, especially the youth. This organization, a previous SEAP grantee, helped fully vaccinate more than 200 Hispanic parents. Now, their sights are set on doing the same for children.

In Louisiana, the SEAP partnered with the Committee for a Better New Orleans to commit local leaders to equitably spending American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. In October 2021, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed the ARP Model Resolution, drafted by the SEAP. You can find the resolution here.

Through their partnership, SEAP provided the SBNC with a grant to expand their chapter network and advance the agenda of ensuring all students have an equitable college experience that leads to graduation.

In March 2022, students with the Student Basic Needs Coalition (SBNC) of Tennessee met with their elected officials in Nashville. The meeting aimed to promote HB 1669/SB 1825, which requires the TN Higher Education Commission's executive director to reduce food insecurity at public universities.

In October 2022, the students' policy passed and was recognized for the Ten For Tennessee award.

As a recipient of the SEAP, Fair Count, and Levi 2022 Children Vaccine Outreach Grant, the Alabama Latino AIDS Coalition increased their region's child and adult vaccination rates.

“We are grateful for these funds. After the pandemic, we restarted outreach in the immigrant community by coordinating three outreach events, which resulted in 32 adults and 14 children receiving their COVID-19 vaccine in Alabama. Using the grant, we boosted our promotion, made care packages (hand sanitizer, hygiene products, etc.), and provided vaccine information to the Spanish-speaking communities. We coordinated culturally sensitive events for our community for Día de las Madres and Día del Niño. We had yummy Mexican food for the mamas, toys and backpacks for the kids receiving the vaccine, and we partnered with a clinic to give away over 150 self-test kits for COVID-19.”

In 2022, Acres of Ancestry received a micro grant from SEAP, which supported a series of community art programs and fine art exhibition throughout the month of September in Georgia. These events honored and highlighted the art and work of BIPOC artists.

The South Carolina Lowcountry Rural Housing Task Force (Rural Housing Task Force) was created in early 2021 when local housing providers and their supporters that serve Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Hampton, and Jasper counties, recognized that they share similar challenges when attempting to address the housing needs facing their communities. In 2022, the Rural Housing Task Force received a microgrant from SEAP to study these challenges. The Rural Housing Task Force engaged with other housing providers, nonprofits, and their local governments by surveying staff of for‐profit, utility and nonprofit organizations who attended community fairs. Project organizers held five housing data walks in the SC counties.

Engage Miami, a non-profit engaging in year-round community organizing, issue advocacy, and voter turn out, was a 2022 recipient of SEAP's American Rescue Plan (ARP) Community Outreach grant.

Engage Miami used the funds to "build on budget advocacy and education efforts that we’ve led at the county-level since 2018 to help community members: 1) understand the value and impact of ARP dollars in Miami-Dade, 2) know which services are funded through ARP dollars, and 3) advocate for increased housing and economic relief."

In May 2022, SEAP, One Voice Mississippi, and the Mississippi NAACP worked together to ensure Mississippi leaders' ARP spending reflected the needs of Mississippi families. SEAP co-produced a toolkit specific to Mississippi.

With SEAP's microgrant and toolkit, SOWEGA Rising and Georgia ACT criss-crossed Southwest Georgia counties to coordinate and educate around ARP. In Doughtery County, they fought to ensure money was spent on COVID relief and won $5M for housing/energy. In Grady County, they helped local groups craft a proposal and secured funds for summer and after school programming. In Waycross, they helped create a housing proposal...and they're still going!

SEAP highlighted Morgantown, WV, as a good example of community engagement regarding ARP. The US Dept of the Treasury used SEAP's highlight in their report. The City of Morgantown received recognition and an award for their ARPA community engagement efforts.

SEAP partnered with the NC Budget and Tax Center to survey households in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and support community-identified American Rescue Plan priorities.


Residents' responses indicated that affordable housing and small businesses were among their top priorities for funding. Legal aid and other local partners relied on survey results to inform city leaders of community priorities.

SEAP partnered with Deep Center in Savannah, GA, to assist in story collection for their youth fines and fees advocacy work. We ran a survey on the Propel Provider's app to gather stories about the impact of youth fines and fees on families across Georgia. Additionally, SEAP connected Deep Center and Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic to advance this effort.

Residents' responses indicated that affordable housing and small businesses were among their top priorities for funding. Legal aid and other local partners relied on survey results to inform city leaders of community priorities.