Alumni Newsletter: Holiday Edition
Hello Leadership Alumni,

We've had an exciting year at the Rural Center, and we feel very fortunate to work with all of you. Happy Holidays from our leadership family to yours!
Bronwyn Lucas
Director of Leadership
Introducing: Leadership Alumni Web Page
Check out our newly created Leadership Alumni page featuring an interactive map where you can find alumni from your county or your class.

We're also working on a searchable database to accompany the map, but we need your updated information to make it complete. If you haven't done so already, please fill out the contact information form here and send it to by January 6, 2019
REDI Alumni Profiles

We are so proud of the exciting, innovative work taking place across the state and that much of this work is led by our leadership alumni. We are lifting up success stories of six REDI alumni through a series of profiles. The first profile features our 2018 Rural Leader of the Year, Randolph Keaton of Columbus County.

Read his profile here and stay tuned as we roll out the rest of our REDI Alumni success stories in December and January

Pictured left to right: Paula Swepson-Avery (2017), Bryan Thompson (2008), Randolph Keaton (2014), Jesus Padilla (2018), and Kathryn Jenkins (2016) & Megan Reyes (2017).
Alumni Webinar with Thread Capital 
Thu, Jan 24, 2019
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM   
We are excited to announce our first webinar offering to our leadership alumni network. In the spring, the Rural Center launched Thread Capital, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Rural Center. Thread Capital provides loans up to $50,000 to entrepreneurs in all 100 counties. Thread Capital works one-on-one with small business owners to listen to their dreams, understand their objectives, and help them create a path to success. If you know someone interested in starting or expanding a business or rebuilding after Florence, you will want to tune in. For more information on Thread Capital, please visit
Leadership Program Expansion
In recognition of the work we've been doing, the Rural Center received funding to expand our leadership work in the East and Sandhills region. We are excited to announce partnerships with BB&T, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and Anonymous Trust that will allow us to continue expanding our work across North Carolina.
Funding available to REDI Alumni
The Rural Center is proud to announce a generous donation from BB&T to support rural community development in North Carolina. The investment will support four NC rural communities in the form of mini-grants.

This funding is only available for REDI Alumni to implement a project centered around one of the four building blocks of economic development. An email containing more information and the mini-grant application will be sent out later this month.
Homegrown Leaders, Eastern North Carolina
The Rural Center is pleased to announce an investment made by the Anonymous Trust to expand our regional leadership development program, Homegrown Leaders. After a successful run in Western North Carolina, we look forward to bringing Homegrown Leaders to the East.
Sandhills Leadership Development and Capacity Building Initiative
The Rural Center, in partnership with the Golden LEAF Foundation, has launched the Sandhills Leadership Development and Capacity Building Program. The program is a part of Golden LEAF's Community-Based Grantsmaking Initiative (CBGI ) , which is a focused process that culminates with grants targeted toward investments in the building blocks of economic growth.   The program serves the South Central Prosperity Zone, which includes: Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland counties.

An informational meeting will be held at Robeson Community College on December 11, from 10:00 until 11:30 a.m. and a regional leadership training is January 16 and 17, 2019 with location to be announced. For more information, please contact Misty Herget at .
REDI 2019
The Rural Center is now accepting applications for the 29th class of the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). Applications are available on our website . The dates for REDI 2019 are: April 2-4, May 7-9, and June 4-6. Application deadline is January 31, 2019.

Know a rural leader who wants to make meaningful impact in their community? Help us spread the word!

Food & Community Development
Are you a farmer or food entrepreneur? Is there a training or conference you're interested in attending? Check out our program to see if you or someone in your community is eligible for a scholarship through the Rural Food Business Assistance Project!
The Rural Food Business Assistance Project was launched by the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center in partnership with USDA Rural Business Development Grant. It provides direct technical assistance and training to agribusinesses, provides scholarships to trainings and classes relevant to food businesses, and builds regional support networks of organizational stakeholders supporting local farmers, value-added processors, and food service businesses. 
The Rural Center's Food and Community Development program is excited to announce the extension and expansion of this program in 6 regions across our state. In addition to the Southwestern, Upper Coastal Plain, and Sandhills region, the program will also be serving the Kerr-Tarr, Isothermal, and Albemarle regions. 

Check out the program flyer to see if your county is eligible for the program. Contact Jamilla Hawkins at  for more information. 
Additional Training Opportunities
ReCONNECT Rural and Urban Forum: Call for Communities
Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI)

2019 LNC Forum: Why NC?
Leadership North Carolina

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