Together for Hope
Together for Hope Black Belt is a network of individuals and organizations in rural counties of persistent poverty in the Black Belt Region that have committed to work within their communities on four priorities of hope, education, health and nutrition, housing and environment and social enterprise. The Black Belt Region of Together for Hope consists of rural persistent poverty counties in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. There are 80 counties of persistent rural poverty within these states. Forty of those counties are in Georgia. The Black Belt is the second largest region of persistent rural poverty in the United States. Together for Hope Black Belt adheres to the Asset-Based Community Development model in order to identify and uplift the strengths that already reside in a community. We deeply believe that when communities come together to identify and build upon their strengths that relate to the four priorities of hope, doors are opened to stronger community relationships and shared priorities pave a common path toward the alleviation of endemic poverty.
What is the Back Belt?
The Black Belt used to be known as the Cotton Belt because its economy was initially based on cotton plantations, but it was later renamed the Black Belt after the rich fertile soil that runs throughout the region. The Black Belt region has historically ranked toward the bottom of American regions in terms of quality of life indicators such as high poverty rates, low to median incomes, high mortality rates and unemployment rates, and low educational levels. Transportation routes have historically been inadequate in this region as well. The population of the Black Belt is largely African American and carries a rich culture that has made many notable contributions to the arts and sciences.