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Rural center enlisting firms

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina  in Raleigh has launched a drive to recruit corporations to help develop and invest in initiatives to address the state’s rural problems.

The effort, spearheaded by Kelly King, president of BB&T Corp. in Winston-Salem and chairman of the Rural Center’s board, already has enlisted 10 firms for its Rural Partners Corporate Group, which aims to raise $100,000 this year.

The goal is for participating firms to contribute $10,000 a year for each of the next five years. So far, four firms have made that commitment.

In addition to generating plans for tackling the distressed rural economy, the group is part of the Rural Center’s effort to diversify its funding sources, says Shirley Robinson, the center’s director of development.

The center, which gets 65 percent of its $7.5 million annual budget from the state, and another 17 percent from the federal government, aims to raise $2 million from private foundations over the three fiscal years starting July 1, Robinson says.

That also would help offset roughly $500,000 that state lawmakers are expected to cut from the budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.

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