When it comes to rebuilding the economy in Appalachian Kentucky, there's no single answer that will help every community. That's why MACED uses an interrelated set of strategies to help entrepreneurs and communities get on sustainable footing.
For three decades, the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) has partnered with communities of eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia to create economic alternatives that have a meaningful impact on quality of life. MACED uses many different strategies to empower communities, from financing to technical assistance and support to research and policy, all aimed at enhancing and growing the Kentucky’s natural and cultural assets.
"We're helping these folks because we see these projects as part of bigger strategies that have region-wide applicability and scalability," says Jason Bailey, MACED's Research and Policy Director.
Two examples of how MACED is helping local communities thrive can be found in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, only a few miles from their home base in Berea.
“The hardest part of running a child care business is keeping the bills paid,” says Juetta Potter, the center's co-owner. Juetta and her husband, Eugene, operate a small campus, made up of a building for the kids, a play area, a small pond, a barn, and a field that is home to two buffalo. MACED helped Country Care buy and install a wood-fired boiler to heat the main building.
The daycare was the first client to receive MACED’s Energy Efficient Enterprises loan. The loan included an energy assessment and money to replace their outdated heating system with a wood gasification boiler. The boiler produces heat more efficiently and decreases harmful emissions. The Potters received a free energy assessment and a loan to cover the costs of replacing their dated heating system with a more efficient one.
Believing that the availability of affordable child care facilities is a vital part of every community, MACED offers support through low-cost capital loans and technical support to rural child care businesses. The financial support starts at $1,000 per client. The main requirement for a loan, which may be spent in a variety of ways, is that the facility serves a rural area of 50,000 people or fewer.
Stewardship of Kentucky’s natural resources is a core value of MACED. Through its Forest Opportunities Initiative, MACED encourages private landowners to practice sustainable forest management by providing education, financial assistance and new income options.
Bob and Eddie Fields have 473 acres and are working with MACED to sell carbon credits. Acting as a middle man, MACED is currently aggregating land that will benefit from selling carbon credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange once market value rises to desirable levels. "We have a lot of help, but I have to convince my neighbors to take advantage of that. They think farming is row crop or cattle. They don't see that managing a forest is farming. But it certainly is, and there's great pay off with it. I'm waiting for that first check so I can show my neighbor's that have acreage. Seeing some results, that's what'll really speak to them."
Bob and Eddie Fields have 473 acres and are working with MACED to sell carbon credits. Acting as a middle man, MACED is currently aggregating land that will benefit from selling carbon credits to private buyers. "We have a lot of help, but I have to convince my neighbors to take advantage of that. They think farming is row crop or cattle. They don't see that managing a forest is farming. But it certainly is, and there's great pay off with it. I couldn’t wait to show that first check to my neighbors that have acreage. Seeing some results, that's what'll really speak to them."
To learn more about MACED, please visit www.maced.org.