“Community first. Pursuit of Excellence. Respect for the Individual.” 

Welcome to SDF

This organization over its life time has provided leadership that put millions of dollars into the disadvantaged community. It has been a difficult journey, but thanks to great volunteers and other supporters we are still surviving.
Even though the Foundation has four main focuses, wherever it can support human capacity for the general good, it tries to do it. 

“To be a leader in the support and development of the disadvantaged community.” 


The Southern Development Foundation (SDF) was established in 1972 by Rev. McKnight as a private non-profit foundation to provide technical and financial assistance to selected cooperatives and community-controlled organizations affiliated with the Southern Cooperative Development Fund (SCDF). SDF is an independent organization and not a subsidiary of SCDF.

SDF has primarily operated only in the five states of: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina for reasons of efficiency and program effectiveness. When providing technical assistance, SDF has traditionally purchased or leveraged its own resources in helping organizations with management and management training, farm planning, accounting, and marketing services. Financial Assistance has been given in the form of grants and soft loans. 

Since 1973, SDF has received over $3,200,000 in grants from the government and from private foundations to carry out its various programs. 


The Southern Development Foundation has a deep and abiding interest in the revitalization of rural communities, particularly in the South. SDF believes that programs directed at the roots of rural poverty–lack of income opportunities–will bring about the only lasting results. For a large number of blacks in the South, agricultural employment seems to provide the most realistic alternative to unemployment. SDF’s answer to this dilemma has been novel. ​ ​