IN FOCUS | Challenging times call for creative solutions

By Tara Kenchen
President & CEO, N.C. Community Development Initiative

altFeb. 11, 2015 – These are challenging times – for our organizations, our communities and the people we serve. Big challenges call us to strive and exceed expectations. The stakes are so high for so many, but as the results highlighted in our Jan-Feb 2015 newsletter demonstrate, our sector is meeting that call.  While much work remains to be done, we should rightly celebrate all that was accomplished last year.

This newsletter coincides with the start of my first full year as president and CEO of the Initiative and Initiative Capital.  I am humbled to serve in this capacity, and it is an honor to work with the wonderful staff and board of this great organization, and of yours.  Our collective work is terrifically important, and it is more critical now than ever that we continue to do all we can to positively impact the places and people to which we are committed.

At the Initiative, we spent a good bit of 2014 looking hard at what we do well, where we need to grow and where we have the opportunity to innovate and lead. Based on what we have learned about ourselves and the important strides we have made, I am excited for 2015.  I firmly believe it is going to be a year of turning points for our sector and I am committed to making sure the Initiative does its part to capture the opportunities 2015 presents.

Though the economy continues its slow but steady overall improvement, we know that the benefits of the recovery are not being experienced at the same level by all members of our community. The Initiative remains committed to the concept of a broadly shared and inclusive prosperity.

To achieve this goal, we will need to not only develop and support innovative community economic development projects but to focus even more on the creation of jobs and wealth for those with less access to capital.

We also must help shape the policies that direct public resources to either enhance or restrict equal economic opportunity. This is not an easy road, but it is a necessary one for us to take and to take together.

We at the Initiative commit to being a creative, innovative and responsible partner in this critically needed work. I look forward to seeing what we will do together.

Many thanks to our sponsors

BB&T Oak Foundation Z Smith Reynolds Foundation Wells Fargo PNC Suntrust Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust Local First Bank Fifth Third Bank First Tennessee Bank