"We must see and understand West Virginia as it is today and must have a vision of what it can be in the new time of the new century...one people, one state, working together for mutual progress." - Cecil H Underwood, January 13, 1997
Mission West Virginia is a non-profit organization that collaborates with public, private and faith communities, equipping them to utilize existing resources to form new partnerships, encouraging innovative social change, and building stronger communities in West Virginia.
We envision within West Virginia:
- Strong communities in which the disadvantaged and disenfranchised are served adequately through the collaborative efforts of government, faith communities, community based groups, and other entities by setting differences aside and uniting around a common mission.
- Faith communities and non-profit organizations, energized, equipped and actively participating in fulfilling their mission and positively impacting their local communities.
- Mission West Virginia recognized as a catalyst and a model for innovative community asset building and partnership development.
Gov. Underwood asked Rev. Dr. F. Emerson Wood of Huntington to serve as the organization’s first executive director. A board of directors numbering 21 women and men were recruited. These directors represented all areas of the state and were comprised of religious leaders, business leaders, community organizers, leaders of higher education and various other professionals. 501(c)(3) status was granted by the Internal Revenue Service in 1997. Under Dr. Wood’s leadership, Mission West Virginia began to grow and flourish. Early program successes included a statewide recruitment of adoptive and foster parents, a program called Faith and Families that linked local congregations with families receiving public assistance, and the beginning of the organization’s technology initiative.