Gear up for a year of community building with our monthly Community Conversation series

As we wrap up 2021 and look to see what 2022 holds, many of us are thinking about resolutions or goals. There seems to be a moment of urgency in West Virginia, and in our communities, to bring real, tangible change. If improving your community is one of your goals for 2022, we have several tools, resources, and opportunities for connection to help you! 

Last June, we launched Kickstart Communities, a virtual learning platform that provides community members with the tools they need to get started or grow their skills to help create community change. We have continued to release lessons throughout the year, and have many more to release in 2022. We recognize that these lessons are only one part of the equation; community leaders need to connect, collaborate, and talk with others around this work. 

Throughout 2022, we will be providing space for that connection with our Community Conversations. Each conversation will highlight a different Kickstart Communities Virtual Learning Lesson and local community leaders who can talk about their journey in West Virginia. 

You’ll hear from our entire staff at The Hub throughout the series. We will each host conversations that resonate with us, which means these conversations will come from a place of passion, excitement, and enthusiasm for the message we are sharing. Our guests will be folks like you: people who are working in their own communities to bring change. They will share the lessons they’ve learned, the wins they’ve had, and the hurdles and obstacles they’ve overcome along the way.  

Does this sound like what you need to kickstart your 2022 community goals and projects?

You can access our Virtual Learning Lessons at any time (click here!). After you download the lessons, one of our coaches will reach out to you to offer help or support. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our coaches, staff, and community champions at our Community Conversations. Go ahead, dream big for your community! Set goals and put them into action. We’ll be here to cheer you on, walk with you, and support you in your endeavors!

Here is what is upcoming in 2022 for Community Conversations:

 

Getting Started with Zoom (and Virtual Meetings) hosted by Erin Susman:
Erin is our resident tech expert at The Hub, who has countless tips and tricks that are helpful when you need to connect virtually and engage your community from afar. Learn best practices and how to be a Zoom pro like Erin.

Getting Started with Data hosted by Katie Loudin: How can you get started in your community if you don’t understand what people want? Gathering data (with a little “d”! We promise this isn’t rocket science!) is an important part of the community building process. Anyone can gather data through surveys and interviews, and it can be a fun process to get to know others and build relationships that may be crucial in the future.

Getting Started with Projects hosted by Stacy Thomas: Learn how to stop just talking about projects and get started with them! Learn where to start, who to get to help, and how to build community support with Stacy, a Hub community coach who started her career journey as a HubCAP team member.  

Getting Started with Building Relationships hosted by Amanda Workman Scott: Amanda will bring her wealth of knowledge in relationship building from her eight years at The Hub to help you learn how to build meaningful relationships for your community work. Learn activities to help bring community volunteers together and successfully work toward common goals. 

Getting Started with Community Storytelling hosted by Emma Pepper: Telling your community story is powerful, important, and not always easy. Emma will share her wisdom, insight, and tools from her experiences in helping West Virginia’s communities tell their story and tips for engaging media. 

Engaging your Core Team hosted by Stacy Thomas: Who are your “go to” people? Learn who you need on your team, how to get them to be involved, and how to build an effective team that will be able to bring change to your community. 

Creating an Equitable Team hosted by Kalyn Obiozor: Does your community team represent everyone in your community? Is your team accessible to many different kinds of people from diverse backgrounds who all feel welcome? Kalyn will talk about how to make your team inclusive, welcoming, and accessible to all.

To make sure you never miss a Community Conversation, sign up for our newsletter to be added to our invite list!

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More to explore

redefined is a storytelling project on a mission.

Watch real stories of West Virginians who are bringing hope to their communities.

For too long, who and what it means to be a West Virginian has been defined for us. It’s time to redefine the Mountain State in our own words and in the eyes of the world. West Virginia can be anything we want it to be – let’s redefine it together.

Parsons

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Message from our Executive Leadership Team

Fifteen years ago, stakeholders building up local communities and economies in West Virginia convened to map a coordinated strategy to systemically grow community economic development activity in the state. From the shared vision and collaborative leadership of dozens of strategic partners across the state, the WV Community Development Hub was born.

Since that time, The Hub has grown into the anchor community development organization serving West Virginia. We have built upon the original vision to create a method for rural, community-led development strategies that is uniquely tailored to the needs and opportunities of our state.

As we have grown and developed a proven model for success, our partnerships with community and economic development practitioners, funders, and committed West Virginia residents have been foundational to every element of our work.

Over the past two years, the team at The Hub has adapted to the unprecedented challenges our communities have faced during the pandemic by leaning into our core strengths to deepen our impact. The Hub remains committed to tackling persistent challenges, and we have focused our attention on the most impactful elements of our work.

We are supporting community leaders to advance their visions for local development, creating new pathways for engagement and leadership growth through our virtual training platform, and leading strategies that lift up voices of community leaders to move forward solutions to long-held challenges to growth.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that nothing about the future is set in stone. While the coming year may present enormous opportunities for advancement in our state, they will also inevitably require significant capacity building, shared strategies that are grounded in trust-based partnerships, and extended efforts to support the leadership development of individuals and organizations who have been asked to do more during a time of extreme stress and strain.

The services that anchor organizations like The Hub provide are even more critical in this time, and we expect our work to scale significantly in the coming years ahead.

We look forward to continuing to do the work of putting into action the vision and the shared strategies envisioned by that core group of community economic development practitioners and funders fifteen years ago.

In Continued Accompaniment,

– WV Community Development Hub
Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

Executive Director

Amanda Workman Scott

Director of Community Engagement

Emma Pepper

Director of Strategic Network Communications

Katie Loudin

Director of Strategic Development

Montgomery

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Smithers

Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Kingwood

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Lewis County

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Meadow River Valley Region

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Watch their community documentary.

New Martinsville

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future. Read their community case study.

Systemic Change

2021 became a time period of catalytic potential as we saw years of investment into our core strategies to enact systemic change yield new results. Our strategic focus areas include policy, communications, and supporting the community economic development system in leveraging unique financing opportunities such as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative and Opportunity Zones.

In addition, through our strategic policy support role within the Abandoned Properties Coalition, The Hub successfully advanced two key objectives: the creation of a statewide land bank at the West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation and extension of the state’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 

Through the Opportunity Appalachia program, 6 catalytic community projects located in WV-based Opportunity Zones received $250,000 for pre-development technical assistance. Three projects received additional private funding as a result of program participation.

Community Coaching

In 2021, we accompanied 16 communities through our in-depth, professional coaching programs. In addition to leaning into coaching and financing opportunities offered through these programs, participating communities leveraged an additional $2.8 million in funding on their own for community economic development projects. While participating in our entry-level coaching program, Cultivate WV, Montgomery and Smithers realized momentum-building success through access to $40,000 in seed funding for projects like farmers markets, public art, wayfinding, community events, and development of a trail system.

Six communities, Lewis County, Kingwood, Meadow River Valley, Monticello neighborhood in Clarksburg, New Martinsville and Parsons, graduated the intermediate planning program Blueprint Communities* with strategic plans in place. We also launched a new round of HubCAP, our flagship community economic development program, in six towns located in the Monongahela National Forest region: Cowen, Franklin, White Sulphur Springs, Elkins, Marlinton, and Petersburg.

Elkins

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. 

A core team led by Woodlands Development Group also participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Franklin

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Marlinton

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Petersburg

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

White Sulphur Springs

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Charleston

A core team led by Crawford Holdings, LLC participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Huntington

Core teams led by Thundercloud, Inc. and the City of Huntington participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support community development projects located in Opportunity Zones.

Grafton

A core team led by Unleash Tygart, Inc participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Leadership Development

As hundreds of people began to engage in our virtual training activities in 2020, we saw a critical opportunity to scale and deepen our impact. This year, The Hub team developed an accessible, virtual platform with options for self-guided and group learning activities as well as professional coaching.

Kickstart Communities is now the crux of our efforts to bring new people into the work and grow their leadership. These activities now form the foundational stages of a Community Leadership Development Pipeline to move motivated residents from seeing the challenges in their communities to proactively collaborating to resolve them.

Cowen

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. Read their community case study.