Local Economy Building in Rural Arkansas

Elements of success after the factories close: Innovation, investment, and strong local leadership.

Thanks to hosts Pat Riley, native Arkansan and member of BALLE’s Local Economy Investors Circle; Sarah Kinser of the Arkansas Community Foundation, and member of the Local Economy Foundation Circle; and BALLE Fellow Ines Polonius, CEO of Communities Unlimited, members of BALLE’s Investors Circle and staff saw first-hand the incredible work happening in hard-to-find places during the 2017 Local Economy Accelerator.

A day tour took the BALLE Investors Circle and local stakeholders to De Witt, AR, which is powering an entrepreneurial revival on camelina and biofuels. De Witt represents a strong, growing local economy ecosystem: farmers and entrepreneurs, educational institutions and finance institutions, conservationists and faith communities, are all coming together to create solutions to shared challenges.

Read more about this rural economy coming to life in ImpactAlpha.


Left to right, De Witt Mayor Ralph Relyea; Terre McLendon, head of research at University of Arkansas — Little Rock, Institute for Economic Advancement; Ines Polonius, CEO of Communities Unlimited and 2016 BALLE Fellow; and native Arkansas impact investor and member of BALLE’s Local Economy Investor Circle, Pat Riley.