Announcing the communities selected for the next round of Hub Communities of Achievement Program

The West Virginia Community Development Hub (The Hub) is thrilled to announce the fifth iteration of the Hub Communities of Achievement Program (HubCAP V). The Hub will implement HubCAP V in five rural communities in West Virginia, focusing on accelerating community-led economic development efforts with support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI).

The communities of Montgomery, New Martinsville, Oak Hill, Smithers, and Weston have been selected to participate in HubCAP V. The Hub’s staff will work alongside community volunteer leaders to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19, implement plans to create the vibrant communities they envision, and create long-term sustainability plans to ensure climate resilience. These areas of focus will help the communities keep their local economies strong and growing.

“I am excited for a new group of communities to have the opportunity to take part in the HubCAP program to build their capacity and facilitate projects in their own communities,” Stacy Thomas, The Hub’s Community Coaching Programs Coordinator, says. “With each iteration of the program we continue to build resources and partnerships to assist communities in their journey.”

The Hub is joined by partners like local Economic Development Authority (EDA) organizations within the communities, as well as additional long-standing community partners who will offer technical expertise and crucial services to help the five communities best identify and develop projects that will bring value to their citizens and visitors. Partners include the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) and West Virginia University’s School of Design and Community Development.

Our partners will work closely with the community teams to grow their leadership capacity and learn the ins-and-outs of community and economic development. Teams will also be coached to identify and develop assets for branding and laying the groundwork to encourage new businesses, business growth, and entrepreneurial vibrancy in their downtowns. These efforts will also attract visitors and new residents while activating what current residents want to see in their communities. 

The HubCAP V cohort includes communities who have completed previous Hub programs and will build on the projects and expertise they gained from past experience and training. Weston (Lewis County) and New Martinsville are building on their work from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s Blueprint Communities™ Program, and Smithers and Montgomery have both worked with The Hub as part of the Cultivate WV program. The Hub is excited to work with a new community, Oak Hill, as they have a solid foundation of local leadership working to build their community. We look forward to working alongside all of these communities and watching them build on their recent successes with the HubCAP V program over the next three years. 

For the past twelve years, The Hub has provided technical assistance training and financial resources support to 27 rural West Virginia communities through its HubCAP program. HubCAP supports the creation of diverse, robust, and sustainable community teams that establish multi-year plans to develop and execute community and economic development projects with local and regional partners that have demonstrable and lasting impacts on the recipient communities.

We are eager to witness the remarkable progress that will happen in these communities. You can learn more about the HubCAP program and all of the communities we have worked alongside here. For more information about the HubCAP program, or to be involved on one of the community teams, reach out to Stacy Thomas at s.thomas@wvhub.org.

The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) is designed to facilitate housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit the Rural Development USDA website here. For more information on the RCDI Program and how to apply, contact Janna Lowery at janna.lowery@usda.gov.

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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.