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BB&T

Rural LISC is excited to recognize BB&T Bank for its generous grant supporting Rural LISC’s expansion into low-income communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the development of a mobile Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) in Appalachia – an innovative spin-off of LISC’s well-established FOC model.

With BB&T’s support, Rural LISC will help expand the reach and impact of four new community-based organization (CBO) partners in Virginia that joined our network in 2017: Helping Overcome Poverty's Existence, Inc. (HOPE); Southside Outreach Group; People, Inc.; and Appalachian Community Action & Development Agency (AppCAA). These new partners serve predominantly in the southern and southwestern parts of the state, in the areas of affordable housing, economic and workforce development, healthcare and education.  BB&T funding will increase the new partners’ capacity by supporting their attendance at the 2018 Rural LISC Annual Seminar in Washington, DC, a convening that brings together leaders from each of the 84 CBO partners in Rural LISC’s network, along with Rural LISC and National LISC staff and other external partners and experts in the field for workshops, technical trainings and peer-networking opportunities.

A new playground at the Whippoorwill Hills Public Housing Community in Duffield, Va.  The only previous play option was a single basketball goal at the dead end of the development. Now, with an inviting neighborhood park/playground area,108 low-income children in the neighborhood have a place to play.  United Way of Southwest Virginia partnered with Appalachian Community Action Agency (AppCAA), Scott County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the LENOWISCO Planning District for this project.
A new playground at the Whippoorwill Hills Public Housing Community in Duffield, Va. The only previous play option was a single basketball goal at the dead end of the development. Now, with an inviting neighborhood park/playground area,108 low-income children in the neighborhood have a place to play. United Way of Southwest Virginia partnered with Appalachian Community Action Agency (AppCAA), Scott County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the LENOWISCO Planning District for this project.

By leveraging Rural LISC’s expertise, technical assistance, network experience and potential access to other capital sources, our new Virginia partners collectively estimate that they will enter 10 new housing units into the development process, create three jobs and retain two jobs in 2018.  Southside Outreach Group plans to launch a new affordable housing development project in South Boston, VA, while AppCAA will expand its work in economic development, children’s programs, housing and community solutions, volunteer programs and emergency services. HOPE will enhance its capacity to develop and manage more multifamily affordable housing units, carrying out predevelopment and feasibility assessments for a mixed-income, mixed-use development that will include at least 10 affordable units, and complete the development of its HOPE Soup “pay what you can” restaurant in downtown Wytheville.  People, Inc. will maintain and improve its offering of almost 30 programs designed to “give people a hand up, not a hand out.”

Thanks to HOPE, Lynne Bouknight, a resident of Elk Creek in Grayson County, Va., was able to replace her old home, which was literally falling down around her, with a new, energy efficient home.
Thanks to HOPE, Lynne Bouknight, a resident of Elk Creek in Grayson County, Va., was able to replace her old home, which was literally falling down around her, with a new, energy efficient home.

Rural LISC’s BB&T supported Virginia expansion brings LISC’s innovative community development approach to a new geography, providing training and mentoring and grant assistance to increase organizational and development capacity, and financial and technical resources to CBO projects in rural Virginia. In addition to building the capacity of these four partners, BB&T will also potentially support a further expansion of Rural LISC’s work in Virginia as we conduct an exploratory process, including research and relationship development, to assess opportunities for adding one additional Virginia partner, serving the eastern region of the state, in 2018.

Southside Outreach Group’s Minor Housing Rehabilitation program at work in Cumberland County, Va.
Southside Outreach Group’s Minor Housing Rehabilitation program at work in Cumberland County, Va.

BB&T’s generous award will also support Rural LISC in piloting a mobile Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) in Appalachia. Rural LISC is partnering with Fahe (Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises) on this program innovation, which will bring LISC’s successful FOC model to rural areas – where limited organizational resources and large, sprawling service areas confront rural nonprofits with additional challenges in bringing the comprehensive suite of integrated FOC services – financial coaching, employment services, and access to income supports – to their communities. 

A rural Financial Opportunity Center training.
A rural Financial Opportunity Center training.

At the same time, with high rates of poverty and unemployment in many of the regions where Rural LISC partners work, the need for an effective economic empowerment approach like FOCs is strong.  Therefore, LISC and Fahe are partnering to introduce the mobile FOC, which will incorporate a roving coach to build capacity among designated partner agencies, delivering online and in-person services that will increase access to FOC services for residents in remote areas. Fahe is a strong partner in rolling out this innovation, as it has a unique collaborative model and provides specialized training, information-sharing and financial resources for its network of over 50 nonprofit member organizations across Appalachia.  The mobile FOC demonstration will both help improve financial and employment prospects for rural program participants, as well as serve as a model for expanded rural FOC efforts in the future.

LISC's Financial Opportunity Center Model

The FOC model delivers integrated services across three core areas: 1) Employment placement, job retention and skill improvement; 2) Financial coaching and education; and 3) Access to income supports.

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Located in Abingdon, Va., Heartwood is Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.  The 30,000 square-foot, LEED Certified building sits on eight acres, and, when completed, will feature artisan galleries, a premium restaurant and food court with locally supplied organic fare, video portraits of musicians and craftspeople, and interactive maps showing visitors places to visit in the region as well as permanent destinations for those considering relocation. The center will showcase exhibits and demonstrations by well-known local artisans and house the offices of 'Round the Mountain, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, and The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.
Located in Abingdon, Va., Heartwood is Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. The 30,000 square-foot, LEED Certified building sits on eight acres, and, when completed, will feature artisan galleries, a premium restaurant and food court with locally supplied organic fare, video portraits of musicians and craftspeople, and interactive maps showing visitors places to visit in the region as well as permanent destinations for those considering relocation. The center will showcase exhibits and demonstrations by well-known local artisans and house the offices of 'Round the Mountain, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, and The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

During the 28 years of our relationship, BB&T has invested $1.06 million to help LISC equip under-resourced communities in our shared markets with the capital, strategy and know-how to become places where all people can thrive. BB&T representatives are part of the leadership teams in Virginia and Washington, DC, and provide vital contributions to our work on the ground. Thanks to BB&T’s leadership and financial support, our combined efforts continue to translate into tangible, lasting outcomes for the communities we serve.

Visit the BB&T website for more information.

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