Alumni Newsletter: Holiday Edition
Rural Center Announces 2019 Rural Leader of the Year!
Pictured Left to Right: NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie, 2019 Rural Leader of the Year Catherine Parker, NC Rural Center Director of Leadership Bronwyn Lucas, and Golden LEAF Foundation President Scott Hamilton.
The Rural Leader of the Year award recognizes an alumni of one of the Rural Center's leadership development programs, Homegrown Leaders or the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). 

Eligible candidates are alumni who, through strong leadership, hard work, and dedication, have enhanced the quality of life in rural North Carolina and made significant improvements in their community, region, and/or the state. The Rural Leader of the Year is an individual who is committed to building partnerships and engaging all citizens in their community or region.

This year's Rural Leader of the Year, Catherine Parker, graduated REDI in 2018 and now serves as the director of School-Based Health Services, a department of the Roanoke-Chowan Community Health Center. Community health centers provide coordinated primary and preventive services that promote reductions in health disparities for low-income individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, rural communities, and other underserved populations. Parker's work focuses on addressing food insecurity, advocating for youth empowerment opportunities, increasing access to reproductive health services, and raising awareness for childhood cancer. 

"It's never easy to choose from the more than 1,300 leadership alumni across the state who are working daily to improve the lives of rural North Carolinians," said NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie. "What Catherine has done in Eastern North Carolina is incredibly inspiring and her dedication to her community is second to none. We can think of no one more deserving of this award."
Now Accepting Applications
Know a rural leader who wants to make a meaningful impact in their community? Help us spread the word!

The Rural Center is accepting applications for the 30th class of the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). The dates for REDI 2020 are: March 17-19, April 21-23, and May 19-21.  

The application deadline is  January 15, 2020 .

To learn more, click here.

WNC Leadership Alumni Convening
Pictured: NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie addresses alumni at the
convening in Asheville on December 11.
On December 10-11, REDI and Homegrown Leaders alumni from Western North Carolina gathered in Asheville for a full day of networking and resource-sharing at our regional leadership reception and convening. This gathering marked the completion of five Homegrown Leaders classes across Western North Carolina, training 133 leaders in 31 counties.
Pictured: President of Biltmore Farms, LLC Jack Cecil addresses alumni in Asheville on December 10.
Attendees and guests had the opportunity to hear from leadership from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the newly formed Dogwood Health Trust regarding upcoming funding opportunities in the region. Casey Cooper, CEO of the Cherokee Indian Hospital, closed out the session saying, “effective leaders in rural areas have a genuine concern for the well-being of their communities and care less about their individual success and more about being significant in the lives of others.”
Leadership Spotlight: Jacqueline Gottlieb (REDI 2014) and Bronwyn Lucas, Director of Leadership
The Appalachian Regional Commission announced its inaugural class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute . Of the 40-member class, North Carolina was the most represented with five fellows selected; including REDI alumnae, Jacqueline Gottlieb, and NC Rural Center Director of Leadership, Bronwyn Lucas.

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a 10-month program focused on skill-building seminars, best practice reviews, field visits, mentoring, and networking. The curriculum is anchored by six multi-day seminars around the 13-state region, followed by a capstone graduation in Washington, DC.

Read more about the Appalachian Leadership Institute and its inaugural class (here) .
REDI Alumnus Named Golden LEAF President
The Golden LEAF Foundation recently announced that Scott Hamilton (REDI 1997) will serve as its new president. Scott joins Golden LEAF after serving as the executive director of the Appalachian Regional Commission. During his tenure, he led a staff of over 50 in investing nearly $600 million across the Appalachian region to support education and workforce training, highway construction, water and sewer system construction, leadership development, small business start-ups and expansions, energy, and health.

Prior to joining the ARC, Scott served in leadership roles with various county and regional economic development organizations in North Carolina, including a stint on the Rural Center's board of directors, and as president and CEO of AdvantageWest, a nonprofit regional economic development partnership serving the westernmost counties of North Carolina.

We are thrilled to welcome Scott back to North Carolina and look forward to working with him as he leads the Golden LEAF Foundation into the future.

Read more (here) .
REDI Alumni Featured in Carolina Country
The October Issue of Carolina Country featured profiles of five REDI alumni in its "Leaders Among Us" series, including Randolph Keaton (REDI 2014), who was featured on the cover (right).

" In communities throughout North Carolina, individuals are hard at work to make their piece of the world a better place. Some are easy to spot: teachers, church leaders and elected officials who stand out above the rest. Others may be working behind the scenes, quietly supporting projects and organizations to make their communities the best they can be. But all are leaders, and all are vital assets to making rural North Carolina great."

Carolina Country, a publication of the NC Electric Cooperatives, highlighted the Rural Center's two leadership programs, Homegrown Leaders and REDI, along with five graduates who have become integral players in their rural communities. Those featured include: Kathryn Jenkins (REDI 2016), Randolph Keaton (REDI 2014), Jesus Padilla (REDI 2018), Megan Reyes (REDI 2017), and Bryan Thompson (REDI 2008).

Read the full "Leaders Among Us" profiles here .
Show Your Support for Rural Leadership
As leadership alumni, we are reaching out now to ask for your investment in the future of leadership programming at the Rural Center. We look to you, and the over 1,300 alumni who share our values and our commitment, and ask for your financial support in the Rural Center's 2019 Annual Fund drive.

Each donation will go directly toward helping us expand our REDI and Homegrown Leaders trainings throughout the state, connecting more rural leaders with the tools and supports they need to be successful.

If you prefer to send a check, please mail to: Annual Fund Drive, NC Rural Center, 4021 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610.
Alumni in the News
Business North Carolina
Featuring Paige Dowling (REDI 2016), Rachel Withrow (REDI 2017)
Saving Land Magazine - Fall 19'
Featuring Jamilla Hawkins (REDI 2012)
A Logical Passion (see page 6)
Southern City - Publication of NCLM
Featuring Lynda Sossaman (HGL - West 16')
Washington Daily News
Featuring Jonathan Russell (REDI 2015)
Mountain BizWorks
Featuring Matthew Raker (REDI 2010)
Winston Salem State University News
Featuring Weyling White (REDI 2015)
Partner Events & Resources
IEI: ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity Forum (February 20, 2020)

UNC School of Government - Course Opportunities for Elected Officials
Essentials of Municipal Government - Read More
Strategic Planning in Government - Read More

Dogwood Health Trust: Immediate Opportunities & Needs Grants (Funding Opportunity - Apply by January 15, 2020)

Golden LEAF: Disaster Recovery Grant Program (Funding Opportunity)

NC Rural Center: Beginning Grant Writing for Faith-Based Organizations (Recorded Webinar)

2020 Rural Youth Assembly: Building an Inclusive Nation (Conference - April 2-5)
If you have an upcoming event, noteworthy news, or other information that you would like to share with your leadership alumni network please contact Miles Kirksey, engagement coordinator, at or 919.250.4314
For more information or to join the conversation:  | @ncruralcenter