SCCF began with the vision of becoming a microlender to rural and micropolitan small businesses. In my first six months, we raised $500,000 in lending capital to fund triple-bottom-line entrepreneurs. Over the next three years, we grew into a diverse organization that builds vibrant local economies, including a virtual nonprofit incubation program, green business outreach, a micro-grant program, community platforms to celebrate creative ideas, and other tools to cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The organizations is still doing amazing things in the Shenandoah Valley, and many of my more recent consulting projects (such as the hOUR Economy and Local Investing) have happened as initiatives under the SCCF umbrella.
Waynesboro, Virginia is both a beautiful City and a microcosm of many national trends: long-term declining manufacturing employment, chronically vacant downtown storefronts, booming service sector and retail development that hasn’t replaced the loss of higher-wage jobs, and amazing environmental assets that still bear the marks of their industrial heritage. During my tenure there, I worked with City and community members to increase the economic base of the City and to re-envision its downtown and local economy. Activities included the negotiation a $1 million economic development incentive agreement for a downtown performing arts center, facilitating five manufacturing expansions with a minimum of $500,000 capital investment, and designation of the downtown and the corridor connecting the City center with the Blue Ridge Parkway as a Virginia Enterprise Zone that is now eligible for targeted local and state incentives.
My first and only “big City job,” at the Urban Institute I was responsible for conducting research and analysis on national social program policies, including researching state Medicaid and Welfare policy for the Institute’s Transfer Income Micro-Simulation model, tracking changes in eligibility over time and analyzing eligibility across policy scenarios.
While there, I coauthored the “Trends in Welfare Programs” chapter of the 2006 Book of the States, the 2004 and 2005 editions of the Welfare Rules Databook, and a technical paper on Medicaid and SCHIP eligibility.