“I want Dogwood to be a national model for sustainable health and wellness. By collaborating with nonprofit partners and other endowments, we can do transformational things for Western North Carolina.”
Born in the Pensacola community of Yancey County, Jamie McMahan has always appreciated the spirit of communities in Western North Carolina. His parents and grandparents believed in the power of education as a means to growth and success and the importance of community support to advance oneself and one another. Jamie’s grandfather owned and operated a farm that still belongs to the family. His father, who worked in a textile manufacturing facility, was the first in his lineage to diverge from agrarian careers and pave the way for Jamie to pursue a professional career path. He appreciates the value of growing up in a community of individuals who are staunchly independent, resourceful, creative and committed to helping one another. “Any success I’ve had is because of the community that cultivated me,” says Jamie.
Jamie’s successes have included educational accomplishments at Berkely College, the UNC School of Government, Duke University and the Yale School of Management. His roles in leadership and volunteerism span a variety of local nonprofit organizations, including CarolinaWest Inc. Regional Economic Development Association, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina’s Yancey Fund program, Mountain Community Health Partnership, Yancey County Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell-Yancey Business Advisory Council and more. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Yancey County Planning & Economic Development Commission and as NC State Director of the Southern Economic Development Council. “I’m passionate about economic development because when we’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about people. The impacts of job and wage growth are invaluable in rural areas, where nonprofit organizations carry a lot of the weight of community support and resources. I appreciate the community that has fostered my success, and I want to pay that forward.”
In his many years of experience with Yancey County government, Jamie has worked with community stakeholders, units of local government, educational institutions, businesses and industries to promote community investment and business development. When asked why he was drawn to serve on the board of Dogwood, he reflected on the limited access to grants and personal philanthropy in rural areas. “Investment of dollars can be an engine that serves in a transformative way. I’ve seen and heard of Dogwood’s impact from colleagues on the ground. For someone with a passion for actively participating in community improvement, I don’t think there’s a better organization I could be involved with.”