Come to DRF (512 Bridge Street) on Tuesday, February 19th at 5:30pm to find out more and meet others who are interested!
What’s your vision for improving our community? Changing a vacant lot into a community garden? Helping small businesses get off to a good start? Creating an afterschool program? Bringing people together for deep conversations about the issues we share? Building connections with others? There are all kinds of people with great ideas in the Dan River region, and together, we can move ourselves forward.
In January 2013, Danville Regional Foundation launched a new initiative, Middle Border Forward, designed to address the challenges and opportunities that our region faces, and establish a new vision for our region that helps all of us to focus on what we want to be as a community.
Middle Border Forward is a community-based planning and doing effort that engages citizens in efforts to grow the quality of life for all citizens in the Dan River Region over the next several decades. Middle Border Forward will foster new leaders and launch new actions that create positive change for our region.
What will Middle Border Forward do for the Dan River region?
MBF is designed to produce three related outcomes:
- Create a regional vision of where we are going and what are the key outcomes we must achieve together.
- Increase regional cooperation and shared endeavors in Pittsylvania and Caswell counties and the City of Danville, helping to make regional approaches the norm.
- Develop the next two generations of diverse leaders who will work together to increase prosperity for all in the region.
Middle Border Forward is modeled after a similar program, Greenville Forward, in Greenville, SC. We have contracted with MDC, a non-profit based in Durham, NC with a long history of working in the Dan River region to help guide our effort.
How can I participate in Middle Border Forward?
Middle Border Forward is just getting started, but we anticipate many ways for community members to join in the process as the initiative grows. As a first step, DRF, in cooperation with a number of area organizations, is recruiting a group of young and mid-career professionals to become Middle Border Forward Fellows. Being a Fellow provides an opportunity for new and emerging leaders to plan for and carry out their visions for our community.
What will a Middle Border Forward Fellow do?
Middle Border Fellows will deepen their commitment to the region and strengthen their ability to lead meaningful change through an 18-month process of learning by doing. Specifically, Fellows will:
- Create an action plan that will guide the further endeavors of Middle Border Forward.
- Engage with other communities to learn about effective growth strategies enacted in regions similar to ours.
- Design and carry out small-scale projects to encourage active participation and positive change in the community.
- Receive training and information on issues such as enabling effective change in communities, understanding regional economies and learning about institutions necessary to support meaningful community-wide progress.
- Network and work with other existing and emerging leaders in the region committed to community transformation.
What are the benefits of being a MBF Fellow?
DRF believes that being selected as an MBF Fellow is recognition of an individual’s leadership abilities and commitment to their community. The 18-month engagement will provide Fellows with meaningful information and opportunities for action-oriented projects that will allow selected individuals to play an active role in both the governance and activities of Middle Border Forward. Ultimately, this opportunity represents a chance for Fellows to actively shape the future of the region and to connect with new networks of leaders in the community.
What commitment is required from a MBF Fellow?
During the 18-month process, we expect Fellows to commit to full participation in this process. We have designed that commitment not to be overly burdensome, in recognition that all Fellows have work and family responsibilities. Fellows must commit to attending six to eight meetings during the course of the 18-month time period. Most meetings will last two to three hours and will be scheduled primarily during non-work hours. It is possible that two of these meetings will occur on Saturdays and last between five to six hours. There may also be the opportunity for travel outside the region to learn about similar efforts. If any meetings or events occur during work hours, the foundation will provide employers with a letter requesting release time. In addition, Fellows will be encouraged to meet with one another in non-meeting hours to pursue projects of their choosing.
Does it cost money to be a MBF Fellow?
No. There are no participation fees. DRF will cover travel expenses associated with any visits to communities outside of the Dan River region. In addition, DRF will try to make meeting attendance feasible by assisting Fellows with childcare and transportation.
How are MBF Fellows selected?
Individuals interested in becoming Middle Border Fellows will need to complete a short application. The Danville Regional Foundation will select the Middle Border Fellows with advice from a panel of community members based on the following criteria.
MBF Fellows should:
- Demonstrate existing leadership capabilities through their work and community involvement;
- Show a commitment to the Middle Border region and to the MBF Fellow process;
- Have the ability to communicate and work with people who have diverse backgrounds and experiences;
- Possess resourcefulness and sound judgment in problem solving; and,
- Are in the category of young and mid-career professionals, the existing and emerging next generation of leaders that Middle Border Forward is trying to engage.
In addition, the group of MBF Fellows collectively must represent the diversity of the region including race, gender, geography, and professional sectors.
How does someone apply to be a MBF Fellow?
If you are interested in becoming a Middle Border Forward Fellow, please complete the application and return it to Wendi Everson, Program Officer, by March 1, 2013.
Where can I learn more?
If you have any questions about the Middle Border Forward initiative, becoming a Middle Border Forward Fellow, or other ways you can become involved, please contact Wendi Everson (434) 483-4272 or email@example.com.