Alumni Newsletter - Spring Forward 2020
Save the Date: Celebrating 30 Years of REDI
This year marks the 30th year of the NC Rural Center's flagship leadership program, the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). Over those 30 years, REDI has graduated more than 1,200 of the best of local, state, and federal government staff, nonprofit and faith-based leaders, business owners, elected officials, economic development professionals, and other community-minded leaders representing all 100 counties across the state.

Mark May 20, 2020 on your calendars to join fellow alumni in Raleigh to celebrate 30 years of REDI!
AmeriCorps VISTA in Rural NC - Alumni Webinar
We are excited to announce that we've partnered with The Collaborative of NC , to offer an informational webinar on the AmeriCorps VISTA program and its potential benefits for rural North Carolina. This webinar will provide an overview of the program, the costs and requirements of hosting, as well as resources available to you to aid in the process!

VISTAs can serve an organization in a variety of different roles and add significant contributions to your mission ( see here ). If you're interested in learning if your organization or community would be a good fit, please sign up below.

Join us in learning more!
The 2020 Census and Rural NC
The NC Rural Center understands how critical an accurate census count is for all North Carolinians—especially those is rural communities. Approximately $16.8 billion of federal funding flows into the state as a result of census-guided programs, equating to about $1,600 per person, per year . With political representation, federal funding dollars, and community and economic development relying heavily on census data, we encourage everyone to spread the word ahead of Census Day on April 1st .

Click the link below to learn more about the importance of an accurate census count for rural communities and what you can do to ensure #RuralCounts .
Read Rural Center President, Patrick Woodie's Op-Ed outlining the importance of a complete and accurate count for all North Carolinians.
Patrick Woodie: Census 2020: Rural N.C. must be counted
Winston Salem Journal
Alumni Spotlight - Weyling White (REDI 2015)
In November 2019, Weyling White was elected mayor of his hometown of Ahoskie in Hertford County, becoming the first African American mayor in the town's history. Though an enormous honor, this distinction came as no surprise to those who knew Weyling. After graduating from Winston-Salem State University in 2008, Weyling returned to Ahoskie with a mission to use his education and give back for the betterment of his community. After earning his MBA in healthcare administration, Weyling joined the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center and currently serves as a Practice Administrator, where his work has helped provide healthcare access to uninsured and undeserved patients across the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Q: What motivates you to get up every day and do the work you do to serve your community?
A:  Everyone has a purpose in life and I knew at an early age that mine was helping others. My motivation comes from the people in my community that need healthcare access, have fallen victim to crime, living paycheck-to-paycheck, or making tough decisions like whether to buy medicine or food. Everyday is a new day to make a difference in the life of someone else.
Q: What inspired you to pursue elected office?
A: My biggest inspiration came from my passion and commitment to see my town and those who live in it thrive. Going through programs like REDI and Leadership NC, I felt more prepared to lead my town after gaining such vast perspectives of our state and rural North Carolina. I always felt that I had a responsibility to my town to lead in a meaningful way.
Q: What does being a leader mean to you?
A: I ran my mayoral campaign being authentic and staying true to myself. I believe in authentic leadership—being motivated not by ego, but a bigger calling, making decisions for long term sustainability, as well as making decisions based on core values.
Q: What was your biggest takeaway from REDI?
A: REDI was so good it’s hard to narrow down to just one, so I can give you my top two. First, when it comes to unconscious bias, we all have a lot of unlearning to do in regard to the biases and cultures that we grew up learning. This has definitely shaped the way I interact and approach others. Second, every town, no matter the amount of stop lights, has an asset; it’s all about how the community chooses to leverage their resources for advancement and sustainability.

Q: What is your vision for Ahoskie (in two sentences or less)?
A:  My vision for Ahoskie is our town getting back to be the premier place to live with thriving businesses, safe streets, activities for our youth, and a growing economy. My goal is to modernize our town to where no matter your age you can live here and enjoy a wonderful quality of life.
Rural Center's Faith & Food Video Series
In the coming months, the NC Rural Center will be releasing videos highlighting our various programmatic focuses and rural leaders across the state. We are excited to share these stories and hope you will join us in celebrating their excellence and innovation. Check out the videos below featuring a couple of REDI alumni.
Above: Henry Crews (REDI 2017) and wife Ardis Crews of Green Rural Redevelopment Organization (GRRO) describe their participation in the Rural Center's Rural Food Business Assistance Project.
Above: Darren Crotts (REDI 2019) of Smith Grove UMC describes his organization's work with the Rural Center's Faith in Rural Communities program to address mental health in a Davie County middle school.
IEI's First in Future Podcast features LB Prevette (REDI 2019)
REDI alumnae and Director of Community Engagement at Forward Wilkes, LB Prevette, sat down with the Institute for Emerging Issues' Leslie Boney at this year's Rural Assembly to discuss what it means to be a community 'weaver'.

Since returning to her childhood home of Wilkes County, LB has become an instrumental voice in her community working to rewrite a one-sided rural narrative by facing the issues head on.

Listen to her story by clicking the link to the right.
Alumni in the News
Here We Grow NC

Featuring Natalie Eidson (REDI 2018) and Leslie Schlender (REDI 2010)
The Dispatch

Featuring Jessica McDaniel (REDI 2017)
The Citizen Times

Featuring Terri Wells (HGL-Asheville)
Citizen Times

Featuring James Barrett (REDI 2019) and Keith Sutton (REDI 1995)
Partner Events & Resources
UNC School of Government - Coronavirus in the Workplace and the Community (Webinar for Local Governments - March 24)
Institute for Emerging Issues - 2020 Service Year Summit (April 5, 2020)
ARC's Appalachian Leadership Institute - (Applicaition opens March 16, 2020)
UNC-School of Government webinar: Financial Responsibilities of Local Elected Officials (April 19, 2020)
NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (Application deadline: May 1, 2020)
NCDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Initiative - (Application deadline: May 19, 2020)
Rural LISC's Community Facilities Fund - USDA loan program for rural community facilities
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