For more than 40 years, we were known as the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED). As we enter a new decade and a new look, we have become the Mountain Association. This change underscores our commitment to a new beginning that is more inclusive and welcoming to the people and communities we serve.
Over the course of 2019, we took a deep dive into understanding our past, exploring changes in the world around us, and envisioning the future we want to see. We have developed an ambitious new strategic plan with goals that will guide our work over the next five years. This plan includes deepening our commitment to aligning our work with our values of equity and inclusion. We will expand our support for small businesses; our groundbreaking implementations of clean energy; our demonstrations of how a new economy can work; our advocacy for good public policy; and our efforts to change the narrative about the people and places we serve.
Our name change expresses our commitment to a new beginning and an outward-facing presence that is more inclusive and welcoming. Lifting up the idea of “Association” highlights the importance of our networks of partners and allies, and the collaboration we engage in with the people and communities we serve.
We thought long and hard about this change and it wasn’t an easy decision. We have known for a long time that our acronym, MACED, is hard to say and often confusing. In fact, if you search for “MACED” online, in addition to our website you find videos of protesters being “maced” by police – an act with which we do not wish to be associated. But we also recognized the value of MACED’s legacy and name recognition. Accordingly, we are keeping our full name for legal purposes (Mountain Association for Community Economic Development), but we will be doing business as the Mountain Association, so no changes are required for any legal documents in which we are named.
Along with this change, we have made some significant changes in our communications. As of August 1, 2020, we have transitioned to this new look and a new website, completely overhauling the way we communicate. The changes come after taking a long, hard look at the equity of our work. The capstone of our year-long internal strategic planning process was to complete a third-party equity audit of our external communications.
We worked with a passionate group of diverse students from Berea College to complete the audit. Through a variety of communications assessments, the students analyzed our website and physical materials to determine the reading level and ease of readability. We have taken heed of their recommendations, and have made our information and online tools more accessible to all, reducing the number of words per sentence and using plain language as much as possible. P&P Creative, a communications firm based in our service area, designed our new brand, new website, messaging and materials, making them easier to navigate. They also designed the site to meet accessibility guidelines, including those for visual impairment and language translation options.
Our mission: The Mountain Association invests in people and places in Eastern Kentucky to advance a just transition to a new economy that is more diverse, sustainable, equitable and resilient.
All the work in developing our new strategic plan, writing our new mission statement, and deepening our commitment to equity have prepared us for this truly unique, historic moment. We face a global pandemic with unprecedented impact on lives and economies; a rising tide of voices recognizing, finally, that Black Lives Matter; and, new energy and engagement in our communities and around the world calling for justice for the oppressed, overlooked, disrespected and disregarded. We know our partners and those we serve will stand with us as we embrace all these changes, and as we continue to navigate how this new outlook informs our work.
Building the future we want will take all of us learning, planning and working together. It will take bold, clear statements and the will to back brave words with hard work. It will take easy-to-use digital tools to bring more people along with us as we build an economy that better serves all people and all places.
We invite you to contact us with any questions about our journey or how we have designed our path forward.