Only 10 more days until Christmas and we know some of you are counting down the days to opening those Christmas presents or just spending some quality time to relax and recharge for the new year.
Regardless of which one you are looking forward to, we hope you are enjoying your time as we approach the end of the year.
We’re going to keep this Weekly Roundup, short and sweet as we know several of you are ready for those holiday vacations.
SOAR’s MVP of the Year
Speaking of enjoying one’s time, we recently had our SOAR Christmas party at Camp Landing in Ashland on Thursday, December 14. We had the chance to spend some quality time together – opening presents, discussing the 2024 year, and getting to play some laser tag and arcade games.
However, another BIG event happened this year at our Holiday Party … we awarded our Most Valuable Player of the Year: Latsha Friend!
This year, SOAR awarded their first-ever Most Valuable Player where teammates put in their vote on who they believe deserved SOAR recognition for being a team player, a disciplined worker, and a reflection of SOAR’s beliefs.
East Kentucky Leadership Conference
The East Kentucky Leadership Foundation gathers each April to focus on helping Eastern Kentucky leaders work together to create a unified front in battling the region’s historic challenges.
The 2023 conference showcased thematic sessions for “After the Flood: Lessons Learned and Long-term Recovery.” sessions included “Leadership in Flood Recovery,” “Housing: impacts, lessons learned, and solutions needed,” “disaster relief: real-life experiences,” “being a public servant (for recovery and beyond),” and “infrastructure/broadband: how it has helped and how it needs help.”
In addition to the session, the conference also featured a youth round table which provided area high school students impacted by the flood with the opportunity to discuss the flood, resiliency, and building back better.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear delivered a video keynote address during the annual awards banquet.
More details about the 2023 award winners are available in the awards section on their website.
The 2024 conference will be held April 25th-26th in Corbin. Conference planning is underway and more details are coming soon!
Read and learn more about this event HERE.
More Than $995,000 Awarded to 40 Appalachian Organizations via ARC’s READY Nonprofits Initiative
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced $995,339 in awards through READY Nonprofits, one of four tailored tracks under ARC’s capacity-building initiative, READY Appalachia. Funds will help 40 nonprofits from 11 Appalachian states build internal operating capacity, enabling them to solve pressing issues and create opportunities in their communities.
All 2023 award recipients completed the READY Nonprofits’ Fall 2022 training program, during which a cohort of 75 organizations participated in 10 intensive weeks of courses covering board development, financial management, fundraising, employee recruitment and retention, marketing communications, and programs and operations.
The cohort-based learning model allowed participants to develop skills, networks, and solutions to organizational challenges. Now, flexible funding of up to $25,000 will allow participants to build organizational capacity, implement those solutions, and better fulfill their missions across Appalachia.
Among these award recipients is Kentucky Heartwood Re-brand and Marketing Strategy in Berea, Ky.
You can read more about these award recipients HERE.
ARC Accepting Applications for Summer Study Programs in Entrepreneurship and STEM for Region’s Middle and High School Students
ARC has also opened applications for two summer study opportunities: the Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy (AEA) and the Appalachian STEM Academy at Oak Ridge. Both programs, planned for summer 2023, are free intensive learning experiences specifically for the Appalachian Region’s high school and/or middle school students and teachers.
The Appalachian Entrepreneurship Academy (AEA), developed in partnership with Appalachian State University, EntreEd, and STEM West, prepares the next generation of regional entrepreneurial leaders and thinkers.
High school students from across Appalachia will be selected to participate in a comprehensive learning curriculum designed to cultivate creativity, sharpen business acumen, and develop skills essential for entrepreneurial success. The students will have the opportunity to develop and implement business ideas, refine and prototype those ideas, and eventually deliver a shark-tank-style pitch presentation for an audience of entrepreneurs. AEA will be held from July 6-19, 2024, at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. More information and application materials HERE.
The Appalachian STEM Academy is a hands-on learning experience for Appalachia’s middle and high school students, as well as high school teachers in STEM-related fields. Hosted by Oak Ridge Associated Universities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, this program is a gateway to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the Appalachian Region. Working with award-winning scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, high school and middle school students conduct guided group science, math, and computer science technology research projects, while high school teachers work with science practitioners to develop STEM-related curricula. Many students gain their first exposure to applied science and STEM education through this experience.
The academy sessions will take place on the following dates:
- Middle School STEM Academy Session 1: July 6-12, 2024
- Middle School STEM Academy Session 2: July 13-19, 2024
- High School STEM Academy: July 6-19, 2024
Applications for both opportunities are due February 2, 2024.
Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition
You still have a couple of weeks left to apply for our 2024 Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition!
Do you have Appalachia Kentucky’s next big idea?
We want to hear it… and we want to fund it.
Thanks to the generosity of Community Trust Bancorp, we will award nearly $20,000 in cash prizes with first-place taking home $10,000!
Finalists also get to take home $500.
Who is eligible for the competition?
The business must be a startup based in one of the 54 ARC KY Counties.
- A Startup is defined as a concept or existing business financed by its founders that is attempting to attract outside investment.
- An existing business cannot be more than 5 years old.
- Must have a product or service that has an e-commerce or exporting focus.
The competition is planned for April 11, 2024 and the location is yet to be determined (TBD).
But don’t let that date fool you, the deadline to APPLY is coming up soon!
The deadline to apply is December 31, 2023. We know that applying for a pitch competition can be a little intimidating. It doesn’t have to be and we are here to help.
You can apply HERE.
Want to Submit to our Roundup?
Again, we wanted to keep this Weekly Roundup short and sweet. Enjoy your weekend and we will see you again in the New Year!
Do you know of anything that you would like to be shared in our Weekly Roundup, let me know and email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org