PARKERSBURG - The executive director of the local community foundation attended the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago.
Judy Sjostedt, executive director of Our Community's Foundation, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates, was a member of the Appalachian Regional Commission's delegation to the event.
Sjostedt said she was invited by the ARC to "shine a spotlight on great things happening at the local level in ARC-states, such as Our Community Foundation's Civic Leaders Fellowship Initiative.
"Through (the foundation's) work and that of the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley, we're employing 33 young people in West Virginia this summer, helping better prepare them for careers in our state post-graduation and for roles as community leaders," Sjostedt said.
The ARC's broad goal in sending a team to the initiative is to help leaders of ARC-state communities meet with others around the country who are doing good work, to showcase promising initiatives and to help identify possible resources, Sjostedt said.
"We worked in small groups around specific topics. Given our foundation's work with youth and employment, I was part of the 'Reconnecting Youth' working group," she said. "The conference gave me the opportunity to make connections that will help shape and inform our Foundation's work, as well as the chance for us to contribute to the work of others."
Through conference participation, she learned about the importance of broadening the foundation's scope as time and resources allow, she said.
"I came away with more ideas, than any of us have time or resources to pursue, smiling here," Sjostedt said. "Now I need to work on identifying the most critical new directions that may merit our investigation and attention."
The regional commission is an economic development agency comprised of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and Earl Gohl, co-chairman, appointed by the president. Gohl recently visited Roane County about the progress of local food initiatives.
The Clinton Global Initiative is a program of the Clinton Foundation with the mission of convening global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. It was established in June 2011 by former President Bill Clinton.