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ARPDI philanthropy specialist Kelly Joplin

The Center for Rural Development has named Kelly Joplin of Somerset as the local philanthropy specialist for the Appalachian Rural Development Philanthropy Initiative (ARDPI).

Joplin will be working primarily with community leaders and local organizations in The Center’s five ARDPI pilot counties—Bell, Clay, Knox, Magoffin, and Whitley—to create and build rural community philanthropy foundations.

“Kelly not only comes to The Center with experience in fund development, nonprofit management, and strategic planning, but she will be an invaluable asset as we continue to move forward with ARDPI’s work in our region,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center. “ARDPI’s mission is to grow charitable giving and citizen engagement across the region—building a brighter future for the next generation.”

The initiative, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), is a collective partnership between The Center, Blue Grass Community Foundation, Brushy Fork Institute, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Inc., Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, and Endow Kentucky Commission to build and expand permanent charitable endowments in partnership with Eastern Kentucky communities.

“I am honored to be a part of The Center and the philanthropy initiative, which has the power to transform the communities we serve,” said Joplin, who began work at The Center on Sept. 5. “Community foundations can be a catalyst for rural settings by creating stronger communities, economic opportunities, and support for local interests and causes.”

Joplin, a native of Somerset, has been serving children and families of Central and Eastern Kentucky for the last 18 years. She has 14 years of nonprofit management experience, serving as the executive director of FIRST LINK of the Bluegrass, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass, and most recently director of development and public relations for Hospice of Lake Cumberland.

During her tenure as executive director of FIRST LINK of the Bluegrass, she merged two separate nonprofit organizations; created and expanded multiple social service programs; wrote federal, state, and local grants and provided state leadership for the state Association of Children’s Advocacy Centers.

Joplin has been honored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for her work as a child advocate. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kentucky.

For more information about ARDPI, or to learn more about promoting a culture of philanthropy, contact Kelly Joplin, ARDPI local philanthropy specialist, or Mable Duke, ARDPI consultant, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset at 606-677-6000.