Haskins joins Better South’s board of directors

MARCH 22, 2016  |  Virginia community economic developer Conaway B. Haskins III has joined the board of directors of the Center for a Better South, a nonpartisan Southern think tank based in Charleston, S.C.  The Center focuses on developing pragmatic ideas, strategies and tactics to help to reduce poverty, increase economic opportunities and work with thinking leaders who want to make a difference in the American South.



“The Center for a Better South is committed to developing and sharing thoughtful, impactful policy ideas with thinking leaders across our region that will make a difference,” said Haskins, pictured at right.  “Its recent work with the Promise Zone in South Carolina highlights how organizing people behind a strategy to reduce poverty has the potential for real change in a rural part of the state.

“I’m excited to be able to join this organization and provide leadership to help make bold changes from my native Virginia through the Promise Zone to the Mississippi Delta.”

Andy Brack, president and chairman of the Center, welcomed Haskins to the board of directors.

“Conaway’s depth and breadth of experience is a perfect fit for the pragmatic, practical Center as it works on ways to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunities throughout the South,” he said.  “We’re honored to have his help, vision and experience as we grow.”

Haskins serves as executive director of the nonprofit Virginia Community Economic Network to help  Virginia communities enhance their competitiveness and adapt to the shifting environment of the global knowledge-based economy. He has spent more than 15 years advising and assisting institutions and individuals on navigating the politics and economics of community growth and development at the local, state, and national levels.

Haskins also is director of community development for VT KnowledgeWorks where he manages an emerging portfolio of statewide outreach initiatives.

In recent years, Haskins led a variety of economic development and public policy initiatives for Virginia State University, the Council on Foundations, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb and the Cameron Foundation. He also served as an economic development and urban planning researcher at the Aspen Institute and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Haskins currently also serves on the board of directors of the George Mason University Alumni Association and the advisory boards of the George Mason University Honors College and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Minority Political Leadership Institute. He was a longtime member of the Richmond Folk Festival Program Committee and was on the board of directors of both Communities in Schools of Virginia and the Virginia Public Access Project.

From 2011 to 2012, Conaway served as a member of the Volunteer State Leaders Program of the White House Office on Public Engagement. In 2009, he was named one of 51 “People to Know” by Richmond magazine, and in 2006, he was selected as a Hull Leadership Fellow of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and as a Political Leadership Fellow of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

Haskins earned a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree with honors and distinction from George Mason University.  He and his family live in Richmond.