Kelly Joplin, a philanthropy expert from the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, visited The Ray of Hope child advocacy center recently to share ideas on how area residents to invest in the future for Bell County.
Joplin spoke with some women of Bell County about the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, Transfer of Wealth in Kentucky.
This is simply a way to ensure that our community will be beneficial for future generations, she said.
The Center for Rural Development serves a 42-county region of southern and eastern Kentucky. This part of the region is historically one of the most challenged areas in the country, she noted.
The Center is committed to building community foundations throughout its service area, said Joplin.
“Over the next 50 years, Kentuckians will likely transfer $707 billion to the next generation,” said Joplin. “This inter-generational transfer of wealth offers a great opportunity to create a profound legacy for our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.”
Joplin said every county in Kentucky, even the poorest, has wealth.
“Even a small amount of predictable funding can make a huge impact on a community over time,” says Joplin.
According to a pamphlet distributed to those in attendance stated “Economic times fundamentally changed in the 1970s and the Great Recession of 2008-2009 has taken a heavy toll on all Americans. These are difficult times with too many unemployed people, foreclosed homes and depleted resources. Yet, with this crisis also comes opportunity.”
Joplin says a small transfer of just 5 percent of our resources toward the communities in which we have lived and made our wealth will add up and in 50 years our future generations can have things such as advocacy centers, literacy centers and other community aided programs.
“Think of it as a savings account for our future generations to take advantage of from within our community,” said Joplin.
“The current net worth of the Cumberland Valley, which includes Rockcastle, Jackson, Laurel, Clay, Knox, Whitley, Harlan, and Bell counties is $9 billion. Laurel County holds over a third of this. The region is not growing overall and is below state averages. Like other regions in Appalachia and rural Kentucky, property ownership and business ownership are key assets.”
According to the Federal Reserve of the United States, the Transfer of Wealth opportunity for Cumberland Valley over the next 20 years is $5.28 billion. A small amount of 5 percent would give back to Cumberland Valley communities $13.21 million a year for community economic and quality of life priorities.
Joplin urged those attending to think “local” first and support the community’s economy.
Take time and volunteer in civic organizations and schools to make your community a better place to live,” she said. “Be a leader in your community and bring together those who want to invest in your community’s assets.”
“Individual citizens can organize and implement a local movement and make a big difference,” says Joplin.
For general information about development of local initiatives contact Executive Director Mike Hammons at email@example.com or call the Center for Rural Development at 606-677-6000.
Chase Smith is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.