For more than 150 years, Berea College has served the people of Appalachia. As an area of acute educational and economic disparities—then and to this day—Appalachia remains Berea’s primary service region.
As an Appalachian leadership development program of Berea College, the Brushy Fork Institute extends the College’s historic and enduring commitment to Appalachia by growing regional leadership and working with communities to create visions and plans to guide local development efforts.
Our approach to community development is informed by the ideals embodied by the College. We share a vision of a world shaped by dignity and equality, encourage concern for the welfare of others, promote opportunities for serving in community, and promote developmental practices that assert the kinship of all people.
Committed to the attainment for all of lives that are worthy of equal dignity, we work with local, state, regional, and federal partners to facilitate community growth and development through skill building, peer learning and networking, and civic engagement projects.
As a respected regional partner, our many roles include facilitator, trainer, technical assistance provider, regional convener, and grant administrator. Our partnership approach is built upon respect for the wisdom and creativity of the individuals, organizations, and communities we serve.
The Institute also collaborates with other campus departments, centers, and faculty and staff to achieve the following goals:
- To increase the number of people taking leadership responsibility at the campus, community, county, and regional levels.
- To promote leadership perspectives and practices that are developmental, collaborative, accountable, compassionate, and effective.
- To help communities articulate their vision and build on their history, strengths, and creativity to achieve goals that are community-defined and community-driven.
- To facilitate connections among community leaders and regional organizations.
- To promote and secure inclusive citizen participation in decision making processes.
- To strengthen the contributions of other Berea College programs to the development of Central Appalachian leaders and communities.
- To share practical methods of planning, developing, and rehabilitating communities.