A message from our Executive Director:
This year, we’re celebrating West Virginia communities.
2019 marks 10 years at the WV Community Development Hub. We can now count thousands of days spent in service to West Virginians. We have seen many moments of hope, resilience, invention, and reinvention in this time.
Ten years ago, The Hub was founded by a small group of passionate, committed community development leaders who saw an opportunity to establish a new, innovative approach to catalyzing community growth in rural communities in West Virginia. Their goal was to create an organization that would serve as a technical assistance provider, a coach for communities, and an intermediary to support and connect a network of resources to better serve communities across the state.
Over the past decade, we have experimented, we have learned, we have walked beside communities as they have had successes and failures, and we have identified key strategies for rural community development that we believe can work anywhere that has a small group of dedicated, passionate, and diverse local leaders who want to improve their communities.
Our belief in the potential for transformational change in West Virginia communities is boundless.
We have been fortunate to be able to be part of this change over the last 10 years, but we see our 10th anniversary as more than a moment to celebrate our work as an organization.
An anniversary like this one is an opportunity to reflect, learn and grow. So our team took the time to consider: how can community development work in West Virginia be even more impactful in the next 10 years?
We knew the first step in our learning process had to be looking outward to our fellow West Virginians working alongside us in communities across the state. We know that West Virginians are practicing unique and inventive approaches to community development, and that the work they are doing is moving the needle in communities despite persistent and sometimes growing economic challenges. We can see the results of these kinds of efforts in communities like Princeton, Buckhannon, Thomas, and many others.
Why is there a disconnect between the commonly reported data and trends that paint a picture of a West Virginia in decline and this positive momentum happening on the ground?
We are still seeking the answer to this question. That is what this 10 year anniversary project is all about.
Working with invested West Virginians, this year we hosted two Community Development Think Tanks and produced a preliminary report documenting successful strategies that communities have used to drive forward community development over the past 10 years, and identifying additional challenges we need to tackle together over then next 10. We are now in the process of soliciting feedback for the full length report and working with a leadership team to develop a formal community development network (Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the team!). Both efforts will launch in 2020.
As we look toward the next ten years, we know that challenges will continue to face our communities and our state that are often beyond our control. What we can control is how we work together, how we support and celebrate each other and our successes, and how we continue to push each other to innovate, experiment and learn so that we can continue to achieve new levels of success each year.
We’re looking forward to walking this path with you.
WV Community Development Hub