Pathway 2 Philanthropy

McIntosh S.E.E.D.

Transforming Communities By Transforming Lives

McIntosh SEED’s rural community development work begins with engagement, education and empowerment of community members. When scaffolded with opportunities for economic development that is locally-owned and locally controlled, along with infrastructure improvements, communities are becoming more resilient and self-sustaining.

Pathway 2 Philanthropy

In the current economic climate, families in impoverished, rural communities are struggling to meet financial obligations. Beyond supporting their local churches, families are hard-pressed when it comes to philanthropic contributions. While some households are rising out of poverty, wealth inequality continues to drive significant gaps in social and economic opportunities. Households of color are especially vulnerable in the sense that small-dollar emergencies or financial missteps can lead to financial ruin.

As households of color continue to recover from the economic recession that happened almost a decade ago, we have to re-energize and be creative about how we think about financial literacy and community-led philanthropy. With a lack of a savings cushion, it has been challenging to help communities understand their role and the impact they have in community-based and community-led philanthropy.

To bridge the gap between income volatility and philanthropy, Southern Partners Fund, with funding from the W.K.Kellogg Foundation, embarked upon a pilot project to increase the philanthropic giving, by donors of color, through the use of crowdfunding and other social media platforms. SPF contracted with McIntosh SEED to implement the pilot project. After a year of working with rural communities and understanding the technology and infrastructure challenges and barriers, McIntosh SEED pivoted and created the “Pathway 2 Philanthropy” project.

The “P2P” project is designed to

  • Build family wealth and assets and improve livelihoods
  • Educate and encourage philanthropic giving
  • Increase community giving
  • Cultivate donor circles
  • Improve community infrastructure
  • Promote local ownership and local control of philanthropic giving

Phase 1

Participants were tasked with putting away a small amount of money that corresponded to the week of the year. For example, during the first week of the year, participants started by putting away $1, and the second week, they put $2 into their savings account. This savings system continued until week 52, where participants saved $52 that week and ended the year with a cumulative total of $1,378.

Phase 2

Participants were encouraged to establish a personal savings, along with community philanthropy donation. Participants are encouraged to do up to an 80-20 split with their personal savings and a community fund.

Phase 3

Participants/donors are encouraged to do a 50-50 split between their personal savings and a donor-supported community fund.

Pathway 2 Philanthropy

Not only will people increase their personal wealth, but they will also develop long lasting changes in their communities. The savings group will think strategically about the community’s needs and democratically decide how the money should be spent at the end of each year. With individuals and families contributing to the donor fund, communities of color could take a pro-active stance in re-energizing their communities and improve the infrastructure that serves the community.

Philanthropic contributions have allowed the P2P program to provide funding support for the annual Sadie M. Littles Scholarship. Scholarships were given to McIntosh County Academy graduating seniors who are pursuing higher education.



Photo: John Littles Jr. presenting Gabriel Green with the Sadie M. Littles Scholarship funding.

Gallery of Pathway 2 Philanthropy