The Center for Rural Development

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October 3, 2022


The Center for Rural Development partners with our three affiliate organizations to better serve the needs of Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Each affiliate organization, regardless of its specific focus and tactics, has an eye toward economic development and life improvement that broadens The Center’s base and increases its services.

The Center is dedicated to working cooperatively with these affiliates and state and federal organizations to maximize benefits to the region and meet its core mission goal: to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

These affiliates include:


PRIDE Personal Responsibility in a Desirable EnvironmentPRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment) volunteers are making a difference in their home communities and working together to transform Southern and Eastern Kentucky. From the hills and hollers of Appalachian Kentucky to the shores of Lake Cumberland, volunteers are picking up roadside litter, cleaning up illegal dumps, and helping to keep Kentucky’s rivers and streams free of household trash.

In addition, PRIDE is teaching students and the region’s next generation of leaders how to be good stewards of the environment.

The PRIDE initiative was launched in 1997 by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and the late General James Bickford, former secretary of the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet. Their vision was to restore the natural beauty of Southern and Eastern Kentucky by encouraging citizens to take responsibility for protecting their environment and by providing the education and resources to do so.

The PRIDE initiative is coordinated by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, a nonprofit organization based on the grounds of The Center in Somerset. PRIDE serves 38 counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

To learn more about PRIDE, visit


SKED Southeast Kentucky Economic Development The Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED) is a non-profit economic development organization formed in 1986 serving 45 counties in Southeast Kentucky. SKED believes a brighter future in Southern and Eastern Kentucky begins with stronger businesses.

Whether you need money, advice or training, SKED helps businesses large and small find innovative solutions that inspire growth. SKED invests in a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky through business lending, marketing, training, expansion and recruitment – and have done so for more than 30 years.

SKED’s mission is to improve the quality of life and vitality of its service area by promoting sustainable economic development and employment opportunities with creativity, professionalism, and integrity in collaboration with local, state, and federal partners.

To learn more about SKED, visit

Operation UNITE

Operation UNITEOperation UNITE—which stands for Unlawful, Narcotics, Investigation, Treatment, and Education—serves 29 counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The region-wide grant program focuses on three main tasks: creating regional drug task forces for interdiction, confiscation, and undercover operations; organizing local citizens’ groups and coordinating drug treatment programs; and working with educators to expand drug awareness and education programs.

Operation UNITE was launched in April of 2003 by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY) in response to a special report, “Prescription for Pain,” published by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper during January and February 2003. This series of articles exposed the addiction and corruption associated with drug abuse in southern and eastern Kentucky, which largely included Rogers’ Fifth Congressional District.

The non-profit organization, located on the grounds of The Center in Somerset, works to rid communities of illegal drug use through undercover narcotics investigations, coordinating treatment for substance abusers, providing support to families and friends of substance abusers, and educating the public about the dangers of using drugs. UNITE’s goal is to educate and activate individuals by developing and empowering community coalitions to no longer accept or tolerate the drug culture.

To learn more about Operation UNITE, visit

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