When I first became involved in community economic development, I could not have imagined that one day I would be working side by side with some of the brightest, most creative thinkers in the state.
The leaders of North Carolina’s community economic development organizations continue to examine their roles as nonprofit developers and their opportunities for impact.
That is good news because today – perhaps more than ever – our state needs their best thinking and their talents to rebuild the wealth and prosperity of families and communities that have been devastated by recession. Sadly, the same organizations are being given fewer and fewer financial resources with which to pursue this vital work.
As the Initiative’s staff and board complete a review of strategic priorities and develop an action plan to move forward, we remain committed to continuing our investments in forward-thinking N.C. organizations that present solid business plans for improving the economic condition of our communities.
The stories in this newsletter highlight some of the important work that is making a real difference in our state.
In Spring Lake, a new IHOP restaurant is bringing jobs to a small town while generating revenue to sustain a community development organization. In High Point, a crime-and-drug-riddled neighborhood has been reclaimed for residents and newcomers alike. In Winston-Salem, a summer camp has exposed young people to the notion that aeronautics and aviation are careers within their reach.
N.C. community economic development leaders convened in May to launch a major initiative to transform the sector and, through it, the state using innovative new approaches for a new economic reality. We will reconvene in mid-October to continue the conversation.
As we move forward, we challenge each of you – our partners across the state – to recommit yourself and your organizations to innovation as we work together to build a stronger sector and a stronger North Carolina.