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Middle Border Forward closing office, moving to volunteer-run model
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Middle Border Forward

Middle Border Forward closing office, moving to volunteer-run model

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Starting Nov. 1, Middle Border Forward will transition to a volunteer-run model with no paid staff members and no physical location.

Formed in 2015 and sponsored by the Danville Regional Foundation, the nonprofit organization’s mission is “to build social capital” in Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, North Carolina, by giving innovative opportunities for change.

“This transition is a natural progression of MBF’s mission,” Jennifer Gregory, the organization’s inaugural executive director, said in a news release last week. “What began as an experiment five years ago has become a movement. We set out to discover how to best build social capital in the region and what we found was community development is most effective and most sustainable when it’s done with the community, not for it.”

The move means Gregory’s tenure with the organization will end on Oct. 31, but she views it as a reward for her years of service.

“Everyone working in the nonprofit sector will tell you their #1 goal is to work themselves out of a job,” she said. “I feel extremely fortunate to be able to say I’ve done that.”

What happens with the group now is up to the community, said Cassie Jones, the current board president. The board will work with residents to help reshape the group’s priorities and programs in the coming weeks.

Jessica Jones, the incoming president, believes community involvement is critical to continue Middle Border Forward’s work.

“We’re an eight-member volunteer board with day jobs and families and other obligations,” she said in a news release. “There’s no way we can impact the community the way we want — the way it needs — with just us. Nor would we want to honestly.”

Jones is the last of the organization’s founding board members still serving, the release stated.

A colorful presence in Danville’s River District since opening in April 2016, the office will close next month.

“So many people have said this place is magical to them,” Gregory said. “They have felt at home here, free to be their authentic selves without fear of judgment.”

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