In 2004 the Center, with support from the Phil Hardin Foundation of Meridian, Mississippi, began new efforts to explore connections between the humanities, economic development, and public policy in the South with the Endowment for the Future of the South. The first event, entitled “The American South: Then and Now,” has been followed by symposia on community-building in the South, the humanities and Hurricane Katrina, the one-year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill, the future of Southern Studies as a field, and events that featured individuals such as journalist Cynthia Tucker and Children’s Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman.