RD41 - Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation Annual Report for 2016

Executive Summary:
On behalf of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation it is our pleasure to submit this report to the Governor and General Assembly pursuant to Section 2.2-2736 of the Code of Virginia. This report summarizes the Foundation’s activities during calendar year 2016.

The 2011 General Assembly created the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation (the Foundation) to operate as successor to the Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission. The Foundation encompasses 19 counties and four cities in Southwest Virginia. The 23 members of the Board of Trustees represent state, local and regional governments; state and local tourism, educational, cultural and music organizations, and the Virginia General Assembly. Friends of Southwest Virginia, a 501(c) 3 organization was later established to manage the financial and operational responsibilities of the Foundation and its’ programs.

The legislature created the Foundation to serve as the state’s catalyst for regional economic development in Southwest Virginia, drawing upon and enhancing the impact of resources available through state and regional governmental and private organizations. The Foundation continues to advance its purpose by working with collaborative ventures such as The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, and the Appalachian Spring Southwest Virginia outdoor initiative, promoting new entrepreneurial and employment opportunities by drawing on the region’s distinctive cultural and natural heritage. From its prominent location in Abingdon near Interstate 81, the Heartwood Artisan Gateway has become the focal point for the Foundation’s efforts to draw state, regional, and national attention to the music, artisanal products, and the cultural and natural resources of Southwest Virginia.