Alumni Spotlight l Lead Virginia

Alumni Spotlight


Alumni Spotlights


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Wendy Brown, Class of 2012

Wendy Brown

Co-Founder, Chair of the Board of Directors
Community Investment Collaborative (CIC)

What is new and exciting with you now or since your LEAD VIRGINIA class year?

When I applied to LEAD VIRGINIA in December, 2011 we had just incorporated a new micro enterprise development organization in Charlottesville, VA. The Community Investment Collaborative (CIC) leverages community resources to provide education and capital to entrepreneurs who have difficulty accessing funding from traditional sources. As a co-founder I was asked to bring my nonprofit management and governance expertise to this grassroots effort to expand entrepreneurship in our low/moderate income, minority and previously incarcerated communities. Having previously founded the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE), I was familiar with developing a company and programmatic elements from the ground up, but not in this arena. By building on each others' — and the broader community's — experience and expertise the Community Investment Collaborative has successfully grown into a full-fledged entity with two paid staff, a strong board of directors, 31 graduates of our educational program with 5 start up/expansion loans made to date. In addition, CIC recently won the Community Award given annually by the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council. In our first year, we utilized more than 9,500 hours of professionals' volunteer time - as discussion group leaders, mentors, board and staff - a conservative value of this time is $500,000-$750,000. The expansion of professional staff has enabled me to step aside from daily responsibilities as volunteer Executive Director to focus more on outreach and strategy as Chair of the Board of Directors. I have also been able to consult with other jurisdictions about their fledgling micro enterprise development programs. We have developed a model that not only builds social capital, but relies on it!

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