Recently 65 people gathered virtually to celebrate the graduation of six West Virginia teams from the Blueprint Communities program, a program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh that is administered in the Mountain State by the team here at The Hub.
These teams are now officially designated as “Blueprint Communities” through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, meaning they’ve invested the sweat equity to build up their skill sets in key community and economic development areas and created plans for their future, and now they are eligible for new opportunities and resources to help make those dreams come true. Read on to learn about their exciting progress – including more than $100,000 already secured to achieve their goals.
Over the course of the year-long program, these teams have collaborated with their communities to dream up a vision for the future and develop the stepping stones for how to get there. These community leaders spent this past year gaining knowledge and skills, connecting to resources to ensure success, and outlining their strategies for how to accomplish their goals.
Teams connected to expertise on topics relating to their projects and that would build their capacity to achieve their goals. Just a few training titles included: Team Building for Success; Grant Writing; Getting Downtown Development-ready; Promotional Marketing for Businesses; Public Space Arts Initiatives; School Renovation; Housing Opportunities; and Creative Fundraising. They also connected to one another to understand better what is happening across communities in West Virginia.
Even though communities are facing significant challenges this year, these resilient leaders stayed the course. The community teams have already raised more than $100,000 in grants and donations towards their initiatives, and have torn down three dilapidated buildings to make way for future projects.
Communities have been awarded opportunities such as the Fulcrum Program, which connects teams with WVU graduate students for design projects; assistance with dilapidated buildings through the WVU BAD Buildings program; and Mills Group LLC’s pro-bono conceptual architectural services, awarded to four WV projects as a part of their 15 year anniversary, two of which were in Blueprint communities!
The Parsons Blue Print Community has the following local members: Cynthia Kolson (Parsons Revitalization Organization), Dorothy Judy (Mayor, City of Parsons), Jason Myers (City Administrator, City of Parsons), Debbie Ritter (Citizens Bank of West Virginia) Debbie Stevens (Stevens Realty), Steven Leyh (Tucker County Development Authority), Emily Wilson-Hauger (Woodlands Development Group), Janet Preston (Woodlands Community Lenders and Cooper & Preston, PLLC), Kelly Stadelman (Tucker Community Foundation & now Research and Public Affairs Group), and Diana DeLuca (Americorp for PRO).
The coach throughout the BluePrint program work has been and will continue to be Community Development Program Specialist – Kaycie Stushek.