As Paul D. Daugherty sees it, West Virginia residents are doing something spectacular: They’re working together to transform areas in the nation’s 35th state for the better – and they’re doing so with community foundations and national philanthropies as trusted partners.

As the Mountain State celebrates its 158th birthday this year, Philanthropy West Virginia – the Morgantown-based leadership network of nearly 90 philanthropic organizations led by Daugherty as president and CEO – issued a new report in June, Transforming Rural: Accelerating Community-Based Philanthropy, to spotlight this bottom-up approach for progress.

“Transforming Rural showcases that when philanthropy centers the needs of the community and focuses on building local leadership and major long-term investments, rural communities can achieve growth and impact,” Daugherty says. “Our work ahead is to continue this momentum as we come out of the pandemic to ensure rural communities are built up better than before.”

The report includes a 20-year look at how the combined asset value of community foundations in West Virginia tripled to $500 million, and how their involvement has grown to play a pivotal role in supporting resident-driven projects, including community revitalization, ensuring food stability and more, in 95% of the state’s 55 counties.

This approach is finding support in West Virginia, which is home to more than 1.7 million people. The state has seen its coal-based economy change over the years because it helps address economic development, pandemic relief, persistent poverty, and other topics that residents say are important to their future.

Read the full article about rural philanthropy by Bradley Wong at Independent Sector.