ACRE CDC, Inc. Overview
ACRE was originally founded in 2002 as part of the Alabama Rural Initiative of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. A model for addressing poverty in economic development in one of the poorest areas of the nation, ACRE is located in Lowndes County, Alabama. According to the 2000 census, the per capita income for the county was $12,457. Approximately 26.60% of the families and 31.40% of the population live below the poverty line.
Located between Selma and Montgomery, forty-seven of the fifty-four mile historic 1965 voting rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. goes through Lowndes County. Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, Taylor Branch, wrote extensively about Lowndes County and the role of its American History in his 2006 book, At Canaan's Edge.
ACRE's Executive Director and founder, Catherine Coleman Flowers, a native of Lowndes County, Alabama has been nationally and locally recognized for her work in developing a model for addressing the root causes of poverty in one of America's poorest regions. She has been the subject of an Emmy nominated documentary and numerous news articles.
In 2004, Citigroup executives, Martin Wong and Kevin Kessinger visited Lowndes County and through the Alabama Rural Initiative donated four homes to families. Those gifts were applauded in editorials in many Alabama newspapers, including the state's largest newspaper, The Birmingham News. Since the evolution of ACRE from the Alabama Rural Initiative, Mrs. Flowers and the staff of ACRE are reaching across the state and nation to share the best practices in targeting the root causes of poverty.