The Hub will implement HubCAP V in five rural communities in West Virginia, focusing on accelerating community-led economic development efforts.
The Hub is thrilled to announce the newest addition to our staff: Beth Thompson. Beth will serve as the Community Development Partnerships Coordinator to help grow, maintain, and foster new relationships that benefit communities in West Virginia and the greater region! As someone who lives in rural West Virginia, Beth is excited to foster these partnerships to make communities like hers the best they can be.
In her new role, Beth will be coordinating The Hub’s role in the new partnership we have with the National Association of Counties (NACo); co-leading the Downtown Appalachia: Revitalizing Recreational Economies (DARRE) program; and helping to facilitate the Downtown Appalachia Working Group. Beth also brings a skill set to the role that will enhance the evaluation and metrics tracking that The Hub conducts through our programs and partnerships.
Beth is working alongside Katie Loudin, the Director of Strategic Development at The Hub. Beth and Katie connected for a conversation to share Beth’s background, her passion for community building, why she believes in The Hub’s work, and why relationship-building is important to help West Virginia be the best it can be.
Beth Thompson: I first heard about The Hub while I was attending an event sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. I signed up for the newsletter, attended a Hub webinar, and was hooked!
BT: When I saw the original job posting in a newsletter, I was immediately intrigued because I felt like it would be a way that I could merge both my program management skills and community outreach passion into a single professional role.
BT: Living in rural West Virginia has shaped so much of who I am, and my community is part of nearly every story I tell myself and others about what is valuable. For me, community development has amplified what is beautiful and meaningful in West Virginia, allowing those who live here to feel hopeful and optimistic and reminding those who don’t live here why they just might wish they did! That kind of work is important because it provides both tangible and intangible benefits for folks living here now, as well as generations yet to come.
BT: I love how integral relationship-building is for me in this role, and I also thoroughly enjoy all the new learning opportunities this job has to offer. This position perfectly combines my love of people with my passion for problem-solving.
BT: Engaging in community development work feels worthwhile and empowering. I have always felt highly motivated by tasks that have the potential to have an impact on someone’s life somewhere. Community development provides so many opportunities for hope and potential for improvement that it’s impossible for me to not be excited about engaging in this work!
BT: I am most excited about meeting with and learning from so many people throughout the state (and beyond).
Beth Thompson is The Hub’s Community Development Partnerships Coordinator. You can reach her at email@example.com.
We at The Hub are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our coaching team, Sherri James.
We at The Hub are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our team, Alecia Allen. Alecia will serve as the Community Development Programs Coordinator.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.