The Hub is thrilled to host the Southern WV Community Network through the Rural Partners Network

The West Virginia Community Development Hub (The Hub) is excited to announce that it will serve as the host organization for the Southern West Virginia Community Network as a part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Partners Network (RPN). The Hub will convene partners across twelve counties in West Virginia to address infrastructure, economic, workforce, and housing development in rural communities with support and guidance from the USDA. 

The Southern West Virginia Community Network has been selected as one of 22 rural regions nationwide to take part in the network. RPN is an all-of-government program that partners with rural communities to help them access resources and funding to create local jobs, build infrastructure, and support long-term economic stability on their own terms. As an RPN Community Network, the regional network will receive on-the-ground, full-time support from federal staff assigned to provide technical assistance tailored to the communities’ unique needs and priorities. These staff members will be people who live and work in the rural communities they serve, allowing them to develop partnerships with local leaders to promote growth and prosperity for rural families and local communities.

A list of committed local partners includes:

  • Region 1 Planning and Development Council
  • Region 2 Planning and Development Council
  • Region 4 Planning and Development Council
  • Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
  • Mingo County Redevelopment Authority
  • New River Gorge Regional Development Authority
  • Wyoming County Economic Development Authority
  • Logan County Economic Development Authority
  • Bluefield Economic Development Authority
  • Coalfield Development
  • Alliance for Economic Development for Southern West Virginia
  • City of Gilbert
  • Williamson Board of Parks and Recreation
  • Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation
  • Alliance for Economic Development for Southern West Virginia
  • Williamson Housing Authority
  • West Virginia State University

 

Additional partners will be invited to join the Southern West Virginia network as our work with the RPN takes shape.

“I am excited for such a strong group of experts to have the resources and support needed to navigate federal programs, to identify community lead initiatives, and to drive further investment into West Virginia Communities,” says Stephanie Tyree, Executive Director of the WV Community Development Hub. “With this support and the dedication of our network members, we will continue to build resources and partnerships to benefit rural communities in practical ways.”

Additionally, RPN includes an all-of-government strategy supported by more than 20 federal agencies and commissions, working closely together with each other, rural communities, and existing programs and policies. The Rural Prosperity Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and escalates information learned through the program for policy consideration at the national level. A team of Rural Desk Officers representing each participating federal entity supports the RPN program and the selected Community Networks. 

RPN was launched in April 2022 in partnership with 14 rural and Tribal community networks in Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico. With the current announcement, RPN is expanding to community networks in Alaska, Nevada, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Additional community networks are expected to be added in 2023. 

The Hub is excited and eager to partner with organizations from across Mingo, Wayne, Lincoln, Boone, Logan, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, and Fayette counties to ensure that rural communities have every opportunity to succeed. These partners are critical to advancing projects within their communities that make our rural places wonderful places to live and work. 

We can’t wait to see the amazing work that is going to happen in these communities during the program. For more information about the Southern WV Community Network, or if you are interested in joining, contact Stephanie Tyree: s.tyree@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.