Stacey Abrams Establishes Southern Economic Advancement Project

New initiative focuses on building bridges for innovation and progress throughout the South

ATLANTA--()--Today, Stacey Abrams launched a new policy initiative to spur innovation and collaboration called the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP), The project is founded by Stacey Abrams, a well-known national political and civic leader, entrepreneur and bestselling author. With deep Southern roots, Abrams has spent her political and private life addressing inequality issues. SEAP focuses on building a more equitable future, while bringing attention to how race, class and gender intersect social and economic policy in states across the South.

“Across the South, we have local leaders dedicated to improving the lives of those around us, and our goal is to call upon that common bond and support this transformative work through the Southern Economic Advancement Project,” noted Founder and Executive Director Stacey Abrams. “SEAP exists to connect, amplify and ultimately help produce exciting innovations and opportunities for the South.”

Since March 2019, SEAP has conducted listening sessions throughout the region to shape the program’s focus on evidence-based work. They heard from issue experts, community leaders, business, civic groups and faith-based organizations about effective efforts, as well as policy and operational challenges.

Sarah Beth Gehl, Research Director for SEAP, shared, “SEAP is centered on research and analysis, but connects leaders, experts and organizers to develop ideas and turn them in to successful action.”

SEAP will address issues including economic prosperity, healthcare, transportation, children and youth, and the environment by providing a bridge between existing programs and additional resources. Policy research, microgrants, and scholar-practitioner connections are a few of SEAP’s support areas, but ultimately the organization’s offerings will be tailored to best fit the partner’s needs.

Below are statements from those collaborating with SEAP throughout the South.

  • “Stacey Abrams and SEAP are building bridges to help all of us,” said Bill Bynum, Chief Executive Officer of Hope Enterprise Corporation, that has supported development in distressed communities in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee for a quarter century. “This initiative creates a step to the future for the South and, most importantly, SEAP helps us do it together.”
  • Mountain Laurel Farm’s Chérie Bryant, founder of Folks and Forks, hosted a Georgia forum with SEAP, farmers, agriculturalists and neighbors. She said, “we spoke on challenging topics like lack of resources to rural areas, healthcare and health insurance, voting, agriculture programs for the youth, low cost housing, and growing hemp to name a few.”
  • “I’m inspired by SEAP’s strategic practical approaches and our shared vision for a brighter future,” said North Carolina’s Greg Borom of Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County – an organization that surrounds K-6 students with a community of support in school, after school, and in their homes and communities alongside a robust policy advocacy at local and state levels to improve child and family outcomes. “Partnering with this visionary organization provides us a new avenue to share information, gain support and advance our collective mission.”

SEAP is a fiscally sponsored project of the Roosevelt Institute, the nonprofit partner to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. A think tank, the Roosevelt Institute promotes bold policy reforms that would redefine the American economy and our democracy with a focus on curbing corporate power and reclaiming public power.

“SEAP embodies our core belief: economic security and opportunity for the many, not the few,” said Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong. “We are thrilled to be SEAP’s fiscal partner as it works to elevate and bridge progressive work happening in the South, ultimately moving us toward a better future for all.”

Additional opportunities to engage and participate will be announced in the near future. Follow @The_SEAP and visit to stay up-to-date and learn more about SEAP’s ongoing work.

The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) amplifies the efforts of existing organizations and networks that broaden economic power and build a more equitable future. SEAP focuses on marginalized and vulnerable populations within the South. This is a fiscally sponsored project of the Roosevelt Institute. For more information, visit and @The_SEAP.


Anna von Schmeling

Release Summary

Southern Economic Advancement launches today, a project focused on building a more equitable future across the South.


Anna von Schmeling