Southern Mutual Help Association

Southern Mutual Help Association (SMHA) was founded in 1969 to be an Agent of Change in rural Louisiana.

Its mission is to build strong, healthy and prosperous rural communities, with emphasis on low-wealth families, w 80 omen, people of color, and on families and communities whose livelihoods are interdependent with the lands and waters.

SMHA and its leadership have been recognized regionally, nationally and internationally, receiving numerous awards for innovation and excellence in community and economic development.

Since its founding, SMHA has pioneered new approaches to challenges facing Louisiana’s rural communities, standing strong against the root causes of poverty, racism, sexism and classism. Its work includes

Southern Mutual Help Association continues to create new institutions, policies, leadership and learning opportunities, and new wealth in communities while building and leveraging new partnerships.


Climate work from this organization

SMHA’s affiliate Teche Ridge, LLC is developing Teche Ridge, a master-planned $150 million Traditional Neighborhood Design/Smart Growth development on 100 acres in Iberia Parish. Teche Ridge is the first neighborhood of its kind in Iberia Parish and, when fully built, will provide approximately 600 homes at eight... Read more

SMHA has a long history of working with Louisiana’s traditional family fishers – helping them find ways to survive in the face of regulations that favored "big business” and/or recreational interests, competition from low-priced (and lower quality) imports, and – more recently – to recover from the impacts of five... Read more