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The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship profiled our recent Learning Journey to Williamson, WV. 

Managing Partner Jenna Nicholas, a 2016 Fellow, was asked about the exciting initiatives that emerged from the gathering:

"The group largely self-organized to move a number of different initiatives forward. For example, one of the participating impact investors, DBL, and their portfolio company, Solar City, a leading solar panel maker, are working with the head of the county’s redevelopment authority, Leasha Johnson, and a social entrepreneur, Brandon Dennison, who retrains former coal miners for new economy jobs, including green jobs. They are exploring different ways to retool former coal mines for 21st century jobs.
"Two of our participants, a representative from the Benedum Foundation and a representative from the Appalachian Regional Commission, lead the Philanthropic Engagement working group at the Appalachian Funders Network, which helps national funders access funding opportunities to accelerate the region’s economic transition. We always look for local partners to join our trips so that they can keep other participants connected overtime."

New Orleans Participant and Kellogg MBA Mark Fleming reflected on his experience, and how he gained new perspective on integrating the community's voice as an investor:

"How can you create community-level collaboration that will continue to yield business opportunities?
"The Learning Journey conference unfolded with New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week (NOEW) as a backdrop. NOEW is attended by investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world. As we traveled throughout a city still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, I thought about how the recovery has affected local residents who lived there before the storm and whether they were a part of the rebuilding process.
"In order to create a long-term ecosystem, we should involve the community in solving its own problems. If our vision for the community aligns with what the community wants for itself, then we can utilize our network of relationships and differing skill sets to solve local problems. The solutions will be more sustainable because the local community will be involved."