RD289 - Center for Rural Virginia 2017-2018 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

Dear Friends,

Thank you to our many partners for working with us to make the 2017-2018 operating year of the Center for Rural Virginia a success focusing on initiatives aimed at increasing economic prosperity across rural communities. During this year, the Center, underwent new leadership as the board hired Kristie Helmick Proctor to serve as Executive Director. The Center would like to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude to our former director Christy Morton, for all the work she put in as Executive Director, as well as the vital assistance she played in the ease of the transition for the new executive director.

The Center focused on continuing its role to serve as an advocate, facilitator, and producer of projects, programs, and collaborative initiatives to enhance rural prosperity. In addition, the Center continued its focus on advocacy and initiatives around priority program areas including: broadband and infrastructure, rural economic development, leadership and community capacity, education and workforce development, access to rural housing, entrepreneurship and small business, and regional assets and opportunities.

Accomplishing its mission, the Center continued existing efforts, as well as took on new initiatives and programs to promote rural prosperity across the Commonwealth. Highlights of the past year include: The Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity, the Virginia General Assembly Rural Caucus weekly meetings during the legislative session which the executive director serves as staff for, The Rural Caucus Reception and Dinner, area meetings throughout rural Virginia; which included an area meeting in Farmville that focused on rural housing and the other area meeting being held in Disputanta highlighting rural broadband efforts; as well as engaging in many other partnerships and collaborative efforts.

Through these and other partnerships and collaborative projects, the Center continues its efforts to ensure rural prosperity for all areas of the Commonwealth. Fueled by the Center’s and partners’ efforts, rural communities are growing through collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation in various sector drawn to the scenic beauty, quality of life, and skilled workforce that employers desire for their companies and employees.

Enclosed in this report, you will find a detailed summary of the Center’s activities throughout the previous year. It has been a great honor to work and meet with many of you as I traveled around the state visiting rural communities throughout Virginia. It is the dedication and hard work of our board members that make the impact of the Center for Rural Virginia possible. I look forward to another stellar year of innovation, collaboration, and new initiatives to promote and enhance rural Virginia.

Best regards,

Kristie Helmick Proctor
Executive Director