This network building is still in the works, but we have all come a long way because of the dedicate support of these participants from across the state. See what our collective journey has looked like so far.
*KEY PLAYERS // See who participated in the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team helped to build the foundation of who and what the network could be from 2019-2020 (prior to the network's formal launch). They proposed the creation of the 15-member Steering Committee.See the Leadership Team.
*KEY PLAYERS // See who is participating in the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee is guiding and supporting the work of this network today.See the Steering Committee.
Community Collaborative Network Foundational Journey
Starting in 2019, stakeholders from across the West Virginia community and economic development system began meeting to reflect on the past decade of impact and to identify shared challenges, gaps, and opportunities for moving forward.
We knew that, although many of the quantitative indicators for our state that reflect well-being and momentum happening in local communities and economies were showing negative trends, that what we were seeing happen on the ground was positive momentum. We were seeing residents coming together to identify shared challenges, set a vision for how to overcome them, and create real, impactful solutions. We also knew that these solutions could be potentially replicated by other communities both within the Appalachian region and in rural areas across the nation.
We wanted to find a way to capture and reflect this positive momentum as we were seeing it, and we wanted a way to work more collaboratively to address challenges and opportunities in the future.
Over two years of meetings and events, the plans for the Community Collaborative Network were established.
More than 500 people participated in this process over 2 years, and in 2019, a core group of 45 participants representing a diverse cross-section of the community-economic development system in West Virginia emerged. This group became known as the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team determined that the future work of the network should be guided by a Steering Committee, a 15-member body who can set priorities for the network and move work forward. This Steering Committee is the core group guiding the network today.
Facilitating the Development of the Network
During the first two years of initial network development, The West Virginia Community Development Hub (The Hub) coordinated activities, interviews, focus groups, and individual outreach that went into this information gathering and agreement-setting process. The Hub also committed to serve as the facilitating organization to support the management of the network, in addition to committing to be an individual participant in the network as a representative community development entity.
The Hub serves to provide a set of core functions to ensure the operations and movement of the network. The Hub does not set the goals for a network, they do not serve as the key entities doing the “work” of the network, and they don’t use the network to drive forward their own organizational goals and priorities. They serve primarily to ensure that the infrastructure support is in place to enable the members of the network and the network leadership to accomplish their own work.
In 2020, as our nation was facing the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, this network was also forming. Members of the Leadership Team formed action-oriented working groups to identify, create, and assemble resources that would be useful for communities and community development.
Support tools developed: