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Faith Leaders Share Micro and Major Success Stories at ImagineHub Conference

IEI’s Faith & Community team was humbled to be in the audience at the third annual ImagineHub Summit at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, NC, on October 5.

Housed at Boundless Impact, over 25 faith sites in North Carolina and Florida have been part of the ImagineHub model to “reimagine and deploy their space and resources as a means for improving economic empowerment in their communities.” 

ImagineHub, led by Boundless Impact’s beloved Executive Director Cindy Thompson, gathered initial inspiration partly from Thompson’s participation in IEI’s past InnovateNC cohort. Learning with and from rural faith communities is integral to shaping IEI’s annual Emerging Issues topics, and we’re grateful for ImagineHub’s leadership in making North Carolina more economically vibrant and prosperous by harnessing faith communities’ strengths. 

Conference speakers highlighted on-the-ground collaborations, challenges and celebrations with practical takeaways for other faith communities to learn from, shared here to spark further connection opportunities:

  • NC State’s Tom White (also this year’s winner of ImagineHub’s Ray of Light award) shared about the innovative partnership between A&T and Wolfspeed’s new billions-dollar tech facility in Chatham County.
  • The People’s Market’s Shante Woody shared about their grassroots Greensboro market which centers neighborhood economies and relationships over traditional and exclusionary entrepreneurial models, including Side Hustle University.
    • Follow: The People’s Market on Facebook and Instagram
    • Remember: “Community organizing and entrepreneurship go hand in hand.” –Shante Woody
  • Mountain BizWorks’ Jeremiah Robinson shared from a funder’s perspective how vital faith communities are to local and equitable business and economic development and opportunities.
    • Check out: Upcoming events faith leaders can sign up for or pass on to entrepreneurs in their community 
    • Explore: Success stories from Western North Carolina
  • OneWake’s Rev. Javier Almendarez-Bautista and Rev. Kevin Johnson got started by centering community questions instead of church growth ones. Soon, a multi-faith and multi-cultural coalition started organizing to advocate for affordable housing funding in Cary and Wake County.
    • Check out: The results from a listening tour gathering input from over 1,000 Wake County residents about affordable housing  
    • Explore: The map of all the faith communities involved in OneWake

Have questions about contacting these speakers? Email Faith & Community’s Kylie at for more information.