Frequently Asked Questions
What is Reinvent Hampton Roads?
It is a community leadership initiative incubated by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation starting in 2012. Its goal is to focus on ways the Hampton Roads region of Virginia can diversify its economy and provide more jobs and help businesses and entrepreneurs in the region thrive. In 2016 Reinvent became its own organization with James K. Spore as its first president and CEO.
Why is this effort important?
A lagging regional economy is the result of a historical over-reliance on three industries that have underpinned the economy in Hampton Roads – military, port and tourism. These three sectors provide 55% of the region’s nearly $93 billion economy with 40 percent related to defense-related activity. In recent years, cuts in military spending, increased port mechanization and a mature tourism industry have led to job losses h in Hampton Roads. The region ranks low in percentage of high-tech firms and rapidly growing companies. Reinvent Hampton Roads is an effort to support existing industries while nurturing new businesses and opportunities.
How did Reinvent Hampton Roads begin?
In 2012 the community foundation started focusing on ways it could help reinvigorate the economy. It brought together citizens to study the region’s current economic situation and suggest ways to enhance it. They were troubled by statistics that showed the regional economy was slowing down. Phase One of the initiative involved four study groups that ran until the fall of 2014.
Who is involved in Reinvent Hampton Roads?
During Phase One, nearly 100 area citizens participated in four study groups. For months each group of volunteers focused on a different segment – civic leadership, entrepreneurship, industry clusters or workforce development. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation coordinated the four study groups, which included participants from throughout our region. Since then a variety of community leaders and organizations have remained involved or led efforts that sprung from Reinvent. Funding partners include the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Hampton Roads Business Roundtable, Peninsula Now and the Port of Virginia.
What is the community foundation’s role?
The Hampton Roads Community Foundation serves as a nonpartisan facilitator, convener, incentivizer, honest broker and collaborator. The community foundation, which dates to 1950, has a history of being the region’s largest grant and scholarship provider while also bringing citizens together to tackle complex issues through leadership initiatives. It currently is a funder of Reinvent Hampton Roads and has staff and board members involved in various efforts related to Reinvent.
What is next for Reinvent Hampton Roads?
It is focusing on several key projects -- a Regional Export Accelerator Program (REAP), priority industry clubsters, strategies for next-generation leadership, a pilot on operational efficiencies and a possible branded regional joint campus focused on science, technology, engineering, math and health as well as transitioning military opportunities.
How can I get involved in Reinvent Hampton Roads?
Please let us know your interests, areas of expertise and how you would like to be part of Reinvent Hampton Roads. You can fill out the Get Involved box at the top of this page or contact Donna Morris, vice president for strategic initiatives at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org or (757) 622-7951.
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