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WV Community Development Hub Launching $9.3 Million Community and Business Resilience Project from U.S. Department of Commerce Award


West Virginia Community Development Hub is part of $62.8
million ACT Now Coalition grant awarded in national challenge to
create new economic revitalization in climate resilience & green technology

WASHINGTON, DC – President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo
announced on Friday, September 2 that the federal government has chosen the Appalachian Climate
Technologies Coalition (“ACT Now Coalition”) of West Virginia for a package of grant awards totaling
$62.8 million, leveraged with another $30 million in matching funds from philanthropic foundations,
local governments, and the private sector. The WV ACT Now Coalition and West Virginia Community
Development Hub (The Hub) are one of only 21 winners of the highly competitive “Build Back Better
Challenge” housed at the Economic Development Administration (EDA) at U.S. Commerce, a $1 billion
national challenge to build new economic development approaches and family-wage jobs in targeted
regions. See https://eda.gov/arpa/build-back-better/.
The Hub is proud to lead the Community and Business Resilience project as one of the four programs of
the ACT Now Coalition, building a next-generation economy in southern West Virginia. The
Community and Business Resilience Initiative partners include the West Virginia Community
Development Hub; the West Virginia Hive, entrepreneurial arm of the New River Gorge Regional
Development Authority; Advantage Valley; the Southern Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall
University; and the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University.
The Community and Business Resilience project will receive more than $7 million in EDA grant
funding leveraged with $2.2 million in matching funds support from the Claude Worthington Benedum
Foundation, Appalachian Regional Commission POWER project with Advantage Valley, the Marshall
University Research Corporation, and West Virginia University to help communities, small businesses,
and entrepreneurs get ready for these new green jobs and economic development.
Stephanie Tyree, the Executive Director for The Hub, says this ACT Now funding will provide
tremendous opportunities for progress in West Virginia communities, “Through our programs, 16
communities will complete community revitalization and climate resilience plans, over 125 local
resilience and green building development projects will receive seed funding for implementation, 70
buildings and brownfields will be redeveloped, 120 new business startups will be launched, and 500 new
jobs will be created.”

The eight construction and programmatic projects in the entire ACT Now Coalition will create jobs in
solar roofing and community solar installations, upgrades of buildings to be green and energy smart,
community resilience planning and entrepreneurial development, redevelopment of siloed factories and
idled brownfields for new green technology manufacturing and other sustainable uses, green collar jobs,
and the transformation of abandoned minelands into productive sectors. Program activities under the
ACT Now Coalition are expected to launch in January 2023.
The Community and Business Resilience Initiative brings together high-impact, West Virginia-based
economy builders to work alongside residents to motivate and prepare them, ensuring no communities
will be left behind by the shifts happening today in our country’s energy sector. The initiative builds on
a three-pronged approach that serves as the foundation for successful economic diversification: people
(leadership and business development), planning (strategic and community resilience plans), and places
(community and downtown development). The West Virginia Community Development Hub will
develop “Community Resilience Plans” for local resilience and prosperous growth, the WV Brownfield
Assistance Centers will help transform brownfields and BAD (Blighted, Abandoned & Dilapidated)
Buildings for these new economic and job centers, and Advantage Valley and West Virginia Hive will
deploy entrepreneurial development programs to accelerate business start-ups and expansions in these
sectors.
“Through our work at The Hub, we are constantly inspired by the transformational leadership we see
everyday in West Virginia communities. We are excited to launch this new Initiative to continue
supporting community and business leaders to grow the State’s economy and build vibrant main streets
throughout West Virginia,” Tyree says. “The Community and Business Resilience Initiative, under the
ACT Now Coalition, brings together some of the most innovative and impactful business development,
community development and brownfields assistance practitioners in the state to provide wraparound
economic and community development services for communities and businesses throughout the
project’s multi-county footprint.”
The Community and Business Resilience Initiative partners are ready to deepen their impact across
southern West Virginia communities. “Advantage Valley is a very proud partner in the ACT Now
Coalition,” remarks Terrell Ellis, the Executive Director for Advantage Valley.. “With the award of
Build Back Better funding, we look forward to expanding FASTER WV, our entrepreneurship program,
to serve more counties and entrepreneurs with technical support and access to capital. We look forward
to building a more resilient economy for our communities.”
“The WV Hive is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an impactful group of partners on
this transformational project and deeply appreciate the trust of the U.S. EDA on this award,” comments
Judy Moore, Executive Director of WV Hive and Deputy Director of New River Gorge Regional
Development Authority (NRGRDA). “The work will not only allow us to provide more entrepreneurs
and business owners with support, but it will also allow us to work alongside partners to truly transform
the business climate for southern West Virginia.”

Beyond the project led by the West Virginia Community Development Hub, the ACT Now Coalition
will undertake other innovative projects to transform struggling coal country into an Appalachian hub of
green jobs, innovative technologies, and climate resilience. The federal grant award will support seven
other projects to:
● Transform an old factory in Charleston into the “Learning, Innovation, Food & Technology
(LIFT) Center”;
● Revitalize the long-closed ACF Industries factory complex in Huntington into the
“Huntington Brownfields Innovation Zone” (H-BIZ) anchored by the RCBI Welding &
Robotics Technology Training Center;
● Redevelop the polluted former Black Diamond factory owned by Coalfield Development
Corporation in west Huntington in Wayne County into a new solar logistics and job training
hub for the Solar Holler company;
● Transform a long-vacant coal miner training building in downtown Logan into the “Just
Transition CENTER” for bio-based manufacturing and technology job training;
● Launch “GROW Now” (Growing Resilience Opportunities for Workers) to train a workforce
in digital technologies and green buildings led by non-profit Generation West Virginia and
the Alliance for Economic Development of Southern WV at Marshall University;
● Establish the “Sustainable Mine Lands” initiative led by West Virginia University and the
Nature Conservancy to transform abandoned mines into renewable energy, clean
manufacturing, outdoor economy, and green innovation hubs; and
● Launch the “RePower Appalachia” initiative led by Coalfield Development Corporation and
the Central Appalachia Network to finance and support renewable energy projects in
southern WV.

The ACT Now Coalition launched in Fall 2021 and is led by non-profit Coalfield Development
Corporation, bringing together the top leaders of West Virginia’s two largest cities, Charleston and
Huntington; the coalfield community of Logan; our top two educational institutions, West Virginia
University and Marshall University; WV Governor Jim Justice and WV Development Director Michael
Graney; the state’s leading community and economic non-profits including Generation West Virginia,
the WV Community Development Hub, Advantage Valley, the West Virginia Hive, the WV
Brownfields Assistance Centers, the Central Appalachia Network, the Nature Conservancy and others;
and over 50 private sector businesses and job creators.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has backed this effort with a major pledge of $2 million and other
support. ACT Now will receive millions of dollars in match and leverage support from Bloomberg
Philanthropies, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Just Transition Foundation, and other
philanthropies. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was a strong backer of ACT Now, and U.S. Secretary of
Energy Jennifer Granholm, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin, and
other top leadership got involved personally in supporting the coalition’s progress and efforts.

The U.S. Congress passed and President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March
2021, which provided $1 billion to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a major
economic development initiative. EDA launched the “Build Back Better Regional Challenge”
competition, inviting regions from across America to put forward the most innovative ideas for
economic renewal. From the 529 applications EDA received in October 2021, 60 finalists emerged in
December 2021. Coalfield Development was pleased to be a challenge finalist, CEO Brandon Dennison
went to the White House with top national leadership, and the ACT Now Coalition and the other
finalists each received $500,000 grants to get their economic revitalization plans ready for
implementation. In March 2022, the ACT Now Coalition submitted their proposals, and on September 2
the White House announced that WV’s ACT Now Coalition had won.