Twenty-twenty-one has been a great year so far for our team at the Wyoming County Economic Development Authority! Following a year of unprecedented events, we’ve worked extra hard to support our fellow West Virginians as they pursue business, entrepreneurial, and academic endeavors, and we’ve passed historic milestones in the process! There’s a lot to celebrate this season, so we’re highlighting some of our biggest news and announcements in one spot for your convenience. Here, you’ll find a list of our ongoing fundraising efforts, upcoming deadlines, and milestones.
Last week marked the end of the application period for the annual Wyoming County Writing Contest, where writers from grades 1-12 and ages 18+ had opportunities to show off their literary skills and compete for a series of awards. Two dozen writers submitted their works this year, with each piece centered around our county’s history and culture. All prizes, donated by award-winning poet and Wyoming County resident, Lonnie Bailey, will be distributed to winners of each category in the coming weeks.
Applicants: Keep an eye on your mailboxes for updates!
Want to help your community and get a chance to compete for cash prizes? This is your opportunity!
Each year, we host a community-wide fundraiser to help support our annual Wyoming County Community Fund scholarship, which supports one Wyoming County resident in their postgraduate studies per year with a one-time $2,500 award. Due to COVID-19, we were unable to host our WCCF annual Bingo fundraiser last year, so this year, we went virtual! On each major holiday, we’ll draw a name for the cash calendar, and one ticket holder will take home a cash prize ranging from $100-$250. There are 10 winners left in this year’s event. Will you be one of them?
This spring, the Wyoming County EDA reached a major milestone in our small business microloan lending program as we surpassed the $10 million mark in total loan distribution! In the two decades since it was founded, our small business lending program has granted more than 400 loans to over 300 small businesses in Wyoming County and across West Virginia, including more than $1.1 million in COVID-19 relief funds being distributed to small businesses through our partnership with our new partners at the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Read more about the historic milestone here.
Here at the EDA, we are so proud to be a valuable resource and an ally for our fellow West Virginians as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. We look forward to supporting more small business owners in the years to come!
For more information on our small business lending program or other loans, click here.
This spring, we received five applications for our annual Wyoming County Community Fund scholarship grant program! Each year, the one-time $2,500 scholarship is awarded to one Wyoming County resident as they pursue postgraduate studies and certifications within the county. High school seniors, students currently enrolled at career and technical colleges, ABE-certified individuals, and adults returning to school are all eligible. This scholarship is designed to support and empower our fellow Wyoming County residents as they chase their dreams. Hear from some of our previous scholarship recipients below:
After receiving the WCCF scholarship in 2019, Bridget Browning enrolled at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College at age 40. This spring, she received her Associate of Science degree and will be transferring to West Virginia University Institute of Technology. She hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and continue onto a medical degree.
“I knew that this was my chance to enroll and make it happen,” Browning said.
Read the rest of Bridget’s scholarship story here.
For Kandice Bradford-Hatfield, 22, the WCCF scholarship was the “door that opened up” a world of possibilities for her future. Bradford-Hatfield pursued nursing at the Wyoming County Career and Technical Center and now works in an urgent care clinic. The young nurse said the scholarship helped tremendously with financial stress and covered half of her tuition, enabling her to focus on her studies. In the near future, she plans to attend Bluefield State College’s LPN to RN program.
“The scholarship lifted so much weight off my shoulders and put me at ease that I could — and would — successfully complete this chapter towards obtaining my license,” said Kandice Bradford-Hatfield, 2016 recipient.
Using the scholarship she earned in 2017 to cover some of the expenses she incurred while studying at Southern WV Community and Technical College, Kelsey Mills, 21, was able to graduate early with an Associate’s eDegree in Early Childhood Development. Though she’s currently taking time off to spend with her family after the arrival of her second child, she expressed gratitude for the scholarship’s impact on her life and future career in education.
“This scholarship was a sign and validation for me to follow the path that I believe I am meant to do,” said Kelsey Mills, 2017 recipient. “In the end, I am happy with my decision.”
Read more about Kandice and Kelsey’s WCCF experiences here.