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Southern West Virginia’s Coalfield Development Corp. gets $1M in challenge


The Herald-Dispatch

Brandon Dennison, executive director of Coalfield Development Corp.

WAYNE, W.Va. — National leaders are taking notice of the work emerging at the grassroots level in southern West Virginia. On Monday, it was announced that Coalfield Development was awarded $1 million in the Communities Thrive Challenge, a $10 million national funding opportunity by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The organization’s application is called “Rebuilding Appalachia From the Ground Up,” and Unlimited Future Inc. in Huntington was a co-applicant for the challenge, said Brandon Dennison, executive director of Coalfield Development Corporation.

“Because we intentionally work in socio-economically distressed communities with broken, failed markets and institutions, much experimentation is necessary to reconfigure community and economic development interventions to be more effective; think of our enterprises like entrepreneurial laboratories,” Dennison said. “Also because of the economic brokenness of the places we serve, direct employment is a key strategy. There simply aren’t many jobs available to train people for, certainly not sustainable jobs, and so we must simultaneously create new markets and the trained workforce to employ in those markets.”

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