Fahe is excited to be participating in the Rural Places, Rural Spaces policy forum in Mississippi on February 11 and 12th.
We’ve learned that while Appalachia is unique in many ways, our region’s challenges are not so different from Indian country, the Colonias, the Delta, the Deep South, and other pockets of persistent poverty. The policy forum, hosted by HOPE Credit Union, is a chance to further our ongoing partnership with several other regional organizations that serve other persistent poverty parts of the country. The forum will also bring together leaders in philanthropy, community development, impact investment, and banking to discuss solutions to much needed investment and infrastructure in these regions.
As a backbone organization, Fahe lends a regional perspective and influences change at a national level. We serve 85,000 people annually; that ability to scale is not something that happens overnight. Our success stems from years of collaboration with our Members, as well as attentive dedication from partners and funders. It’s the kind of investment that is necessary to build long-lasting organizations and create scale to our programs and products that is increasingly getting closer to the scale of the need. That kind of investment is a little hard to see in every day work but it becomes obvious when you have a disaster like a flood or fire and more recently it was brought to mind following the partial government shutdown, which brought with it the need to be flexible and responsive.
However, a lack of properly sustained investment in regions like Appalachia and other persistent poverty areas can reduce community resiliency when an emergency occurs, like the government shutdown. Fortunately for Fahe, I witnessed our organization and Membership’s ability to be responsive during a crisis. But this is not the case for all organizations. One hope for the Rural Places, Rural Spaces forum will be a way to stimulate discussions and solutions around the difficult topic of capacity in persistent poverty areas because the need becomes undeniable when viewed through the lens of a major disruption.
We look forward to the opportunity to be in the room with so many different organizations that hold our communities’ best interest at heart. There will be great discussions including increasing the impact of CDFIs, philanthropic investment, and the role housing can play on economic mobility.
For our partners and friends who can’t be at the forum in person, the event will be livestreamed on Tuesday, 8:30 AM at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDeSeEWVsHI