Much of the Hub’s work focuses on building local capacity at the community level and in non-profit organizations.
The research that led to the creation of the West Virginia Community Development Model and the Hub revealed that effective community development required more than good programs, training, and technical assistance. Effective community development requires that communities have the capacity to put the lessons learned to work. Historically, it is at the implementation stage that community improvement initiatives stall. For that reason, strengthening our communities is a focus of the Hub’s work.
Research also revealed that a large portion of the work to improve the quality of life in our communities is being done by non-profit organizations, and that a lack of capacity often limits their effectiveness. The non-profit sector in West Virginia employs more people than the entire coal industry, and is the fastest growing sector of the state’s economy. Helping non-profit organizations become more effective and accountable assures that they are better able to achieve their missions and that the funding they receive from foundations, corporations and individuals results in the outcomes intended. Strengthening our non-profits through the Standards For Excellence, the MindEdge Online Non-Profit Management Training and other capacity building technical assistance is a central part of our work.
The WV Community Development Model illustrates a system that will take communities through a process that will result in an improved community. The Hub promotes the Model to communities and members of the West Virginia Community Development Network, and works to engage the Network into that process. The Hub also monitors communities as they move through the Model, and evaluates its effectiveness. Within the Network, the Hub helps communities identify their needs and opportunities and convenes niche networks to address them.