Governor's Office for Local Development
Berea Leadership Institute Receives ARC Grant

Press Release Date:  Monday, October 20, 2008  
Contact Information:  Cindy Lanham

(Frankfort, KY) October 17, 2008— The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), in conjunction with Gov. Steve Beshear and the Department for Local Government, has announced that the Brushy Fork Institute in Berea, KY, will receive a $400,000 grant.  The Institute, which is part of Berea College, will use the funds to provide community development training for community leaders in 37 economically distressed Appalachian counties in eastern Kentucky.  

Since 1988, Brushy Fork Institute has worked to develop strong leadership in Appalachian communities throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  Each September, Brushy Fork offers an Annual Institute, which includes a variety of organizational development workshops and sessions addressing regional issues. The Annual Institute is designed for community leaders, volunteers and organizations and agencies that serve communities.

From the $400,000 grant, $280,000 will be distributed through smaller Flex-E-Grants limited at $10,000 each.  The Flex-E-Grant program was designed by the ARC to provide small investments in short-term projects that will build community capacity to mobilize local resources, gain leadership experience and strengthen community institutions and networks. 

“Combining training and planning processes with receiving Flex-E-Grant funds will give communities an advantage as they invest in their community development efforts,” said Peter Hille, Director of Brushy Fork Institute.  “Communities that wisely invest the Flex-E-Grant funds can develop plans, leverage other resources, complete projects that move the community toward its larger goals and effectively integrate multiple development efforts.”

This year’s Flex-E-Grants program includes two cycles of funding. The November 2008 cycle is open to distressed Kentucky counties that sent teams to the 2008 Annual Institute. The May 2009 cycle will be open to any distressed community in Appalachian Kentucky. Economically distressed communities may request grants of up to $10,000 for qualifying projects.

The Institute also received an additional $20,000 through ARC to assist with scholarships for community teams from distressed counties to attend the Annual Institute. 

The Brushy Fork Institute project is consistent with ARC strategic goals that strive to accomplish self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life for the communities and citizens of the Appalachian region.  Kentucky is one of 13 states eligible for the funds.  Grant applications are submitted to the Department for Local Government for review and require the Governor’s recommendation for approval before submission to ARC. 

ARC is a federal-state economic development program used to assist the Appalachian region through a variety of projects in the areas of public infrastructure, human resource development and business development. 

For more information, contact the Brushy Fork Institute at Berea College at (859) 985-3858 or visit their website at  

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