Our Members

Appalachian Center for Economic Networks

Appalachian Sustainable Development

Community Farm Alliance

Mountain Association for Community Economic Development

Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc.

Rural Action


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Our Mission

CAN’s mission is to work with individuals, community leaders, businesses, policy makers, nonprofit organizations, and others to develop and deploy new economic strategies that create wealth and reduce poverty while restoring and conserving the environment.

CAN is a WealthWorks Regional Hub

What is WealthWorks?

WealthWorks is a 21st-century approach to local and regional economic development that brings together and connects a community’s assets to meet market demand in ways that build livelihoods that last. WealthWorks aims to advance a region’s overall prosperity and self-reliance, strengthen existing and emerging sectors, and increase jobs and incomes for lower-income communities — all at the same time. It can work for initiatives, organizations, and regions of all sizes, shapes and success levels. For more information about WealthWorks, visit www.wealthworks.org.

Why WealthWorks?

WealthWorks offers a systematic approach to economic development, which identifies enterprising opportunities in a region and engages a wide range of partners in turning those opportunities into results that both build and capture wealth. It can complement or incorporate traditional economic development methods, but intentionally focuses on creating more value that becomes rooted in local communities.

The WealthWorks approach is designed to produce and sustain these results:

WealthWorks: The Basics

WealthWorks focuses on building lasting wealth for regions. But wealth means much more than money. Building lasting wealth means growing multiple capitals—a strong sense of community, good infrastructure, a well-trained workforce, unspoiled natural beauty, and inclusive and open government.

WealthWorks focuses on three outcomes in doing economic development differently. The first is investing in and expanding eight capitals: social, political, cultural, built, intellectual, individual, financial, and natural assets. Practitioners strive to build the stocks of many capitals while doing harm to none. WealthWorks practitioners also consider how the assets their efforts generate are owned. Who has the capital? Who benefits from its use? Strategic ownership and control mechanisms spread the capital widely and root it locally. Finally, doing economic development differently requires attention to those people, places and businesses that need it the most. WealthWorks means improving the wellbeing of residents, but particularly those at the economic margins.

WealthWorks is producing better results for low-income places, people and firms. And it’s being implemented across sectors—in manufacturing, housing, energy, forestry, tourism and agriculture. The practice is applicable to different kinds of economies and different kinds of business.

CAN as a Regional Hub

CAN is a regional hub for the WealthWorks approach, serving the greater Appalachia region and beyond. CAN is committed to broadly sharing our on-the-ground experience with the WealthWorks approach and principles. As a WealthWorks regional hub, we are part of a learning community that is committed to improving on this framework. Regional hubs also provide a way for interested practitioners to learn more about and connect with organizations implementing WealthWorks on the ground. Hubs exist to support innovative development work at the state, regional and local levels. As a regional hub, CAN can help in the following ways:

As a network of six distinguished development organizations, CAN offers support in the following areas of expertise:

For more information about how you can learn about, be trained in, or implement the WealthWorks approach to development, contact can@cannetwork.org.