NCGrowth, which works with businesses and communities across the Carolinas to create jobs and equitable opportunities, is deepening its connection to Western North Carolina through a grant from Dogwood Health Trust.
The expanded commitment in the seven counties that make up the southwestern corner of the state – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain – includes the hiring of Stacy Guffey as program manager. Guffey will be based in the area to oversee NCGrowth’s efforts there.
NCGrowth, an affiliated center of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, helps local economies challenged by industry transition, high unemployment and poverty. Its work in Southwestern North Carolina will provide direct technical assistance to businesses and capacity-building support to local governments to build and strengthen a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem that leverages regional assets.
“We are grateful to partner with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Southwestern Commission, and Western Carolina University,” said Mark Little, executive director of CREATE/NCGrowth. “Coupled with having Stacy, a phenomenal local leader, on board, we are very excited to expand our work and impact in Western North Carolina.”
Guffey is a native of Macon County and serves on the Franklin Town Council. He served as Macon County’s planner from 2004 to 2009, helped establish and run the Arts and Heritage Center at the Cowee School and founded a consultancy to help with economic development and planning projects throughout Western North Carolina. He graduated from Western Carolina University and received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Guffey will manage a program that will directly support businesses and communities in creating jobs and new wealth in the region, and provide capacity support to regional entrepreneurial network development led by the Southwestern Commission Council of Governments.
“Businesses and communities throughout our region were hit hard by COVID and many are still recovering. We are excited to support NCGrowth in their efforts to tap into trusted local talent to help address the needs of local governments and businesses, especially in our westernmost counties,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “Specialized technical assistance and capacity building support in rural areas and for under-resourced communities is a consistent need that is critical to economic growth and recovery. We look forward to the impact Stacy and NCGrowth will have on the partners and communities they serve.”
CREATE/NCGrowth is a national center working to build an economy that provides opportunities for all to prosper. We provide transformational technical assistance to businesses, governments, and institutions. We produce applied research that is useful to economically distressed communities across the country. We develop innovative policies with the potential to transform. And we host exciting, unique convenings in underappreciated places that bring together diverse perspectives. With staff in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, DC, our work is local, state, national and international in scope. Our programs include Anchor Institutions Create Economic Resilience (AICER); SmartUp; Homegrown Tools; and the Black Communities Conference. Learn more at http://NCGrowth.unc.edu.
About the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise develops and promotes innovative, market-based solutions to vital economic issues. With the belief that private enterprise is the cornerstone of a prosperous and free society, the institute fosters the entrepreneurial spirit to stimulate economic prosperity and improve the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world. Learn more atkenaninstitute.unc.edu.
About Dogwood Health Trust www.dht.org.Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina, with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellbeing. With a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity and health and wellness, Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit