At the West Virginia Community Development Hub, we believe every community has the tools to develop economic opportunities and jobs; optimal health conditions; attractive and inspiring community environments; bright futures for young people, and citizens who believe they deserve these things and are prepared to work together to get them.
In West Virginia, we don’t always see that potential realized in our towns and cities. In fact, the Mountain State often ranks near the bottom in many quality of life measurements. Every individual in a community has talents and ideas that would benefit the rest, but the health of the community depends on the individuals coming together. We want to help with that.
Since 2009, The Hub, has worked in dozens of communities to coach community members through a process that helps them identify leaders and assets; develop plans and set goals; and connect with a wide network of resources to meet those goals. The Hub’s work in communities has contributed to revitalizing communities such as Buckhannon, Thomas, Shinnston, Grafton, Matewan and others. The Hub has been instrumental in helping to create initiatives that address community opportunities and challenges such as developing local food systems, enhancing community sustainability, securing funding for community facilities, restoring historic downtowns, and more.
Over the years, we have developed a model for community development based on several key principles.
The Hub believes sustained community development requires:
- Leadership grounded in local culture, heritage and values that is allowed to arise from many sources in the community
- Regular, intentional focus on development, that involves representatives from the public, private and civil sectors of the community
- A network of relationships based on optimism, open communication, willing collaboration and mutual respect
- Champions who embrace creativity, innovation, lifelong learning and a willingness to take risks.
We work with communities to put these things in place, so we can see a healthy West Virginia. The Hub continuously collects information about and builds relationships with the broad and diverse network of community development resources available in West Virginia.