An Interview with Jakeya Perrin, the newest addition to The Hub team

Jakeya Perrin, Racial Equity VISTA

We at The Hub are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our team, Jakeya Perrin. Jakeya will serve as the Racial Equity VISTA to help guide The Hub’s work in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As someone who spent a year in service in Elkins as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), Jakeya is eager to continue serving in a larger opportunity to be part of the work moving West Virginia organizations further into the DEI work happening across the state.

Jakeya is working alongside Erin Susman, our Operations & VISTA Program Manager. Jakeya and Erin connected for a conversation to share Jakeya’s background, her passion for DEI work, why she believes so strongly in the need to push for racial equity in community development, and what DEI work can do to build up West Virginia.

The Hub is thrilled to announce a new addition to our team, Jakeya Perrin. Jakeya will serve as the AmeriCorps Rural Racial Equity VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) to help guide The Hub’s work in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

As someone who spent a year in service in Elkins as an AmeriCorps VISTA working with the HubCAP community team, Jakeya is eager to continue serving in a different capacity-building opportunity. She wants to be part of the work moving West Virginia organizations further into the DEI work happening across the state.

In her role as an AmeriCorps Rural Racial Equity VISTA with The Hub, Jakeya will be working alongside the staff DEI committee to offer insights and support through focus groups and cultivated partnerships. Jakeya’s work will help guide The Hub as it navigates deeper into the DEI work that began in 2018, the journey of which is outlined here.

Being a part of the DEI work happening across the state is important to Jakeya, who proudly calls West Virginia home. That passion for the state and the work is what drives her to continue volunteering as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

“It means a lot to me,” Jakeya says about supporting The Hub in its DEI work. “I believe in the work that The Hub does, but I stand by the fact that in order to reach everyone positively, organizations like The Hub have to reflect the communities that they are working in or plan to work in. Working toward making The Hub internally more inclusive and accessible means that externally more marginalized communities in the state are likely to feel heard and can be helped.”

Like so many other young West Virginians, Jakeya is dedicated to the future of the Mountain State. Her experience growing up as a Black woman in the state has informed her own philosophy on how West Virginia can move forward by being more inclusive and attracting a more diverse population.

“West Virginia has a rich history entangled with people of color and Black people,” Jakeya says. “This platform allows me to not only speak my own piece, but educate others as well.”

Additionally, Jakeya is eager to work in her role to bring more communities of color to the table. As someone who grew up in West Virginia, Jakeya is proud of the person she has become and wants to make sure that more young West Virginians of color see themselves represented and be proud to be from the Mountain State.

Jakeya Perrin is The Hub’s Rural Racial Equity VISTA, you can reach her at j.perrin@wvhub.org

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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.