The Harvest Foundation is expanding its programming in economic development with the announcement of an incentive pool funding program for projects in the City of Martinsville and the County of Henry.

“The demand is rising for higher-paying, living wage careers in Martinsville and Henry County,” said Allyson Rothrock, president of The Harvest Foundation. “Our community members are increasingly better educated and acquiring additional skillsets that support the growth of advanced manufacturing and highly technical trades. We want Martinsville and Henry County to be competitive and continue its upward trajectory. Our community is an ideal location for a variety of business and industry to locate and grow. We want them all to know we’re open and ready for business.”

The initial amount of $5 million included in the incentive pool funding will be used to fund grants to Martinsville and Henry County on a case-by-case basis for economic development initiatives. These initiatives may include, but are not limited to, the creation of new industry, job growth, and the expansion of existing businesses. Each incentive pool request will include written performance criteria and the terms and conditions for payback of grant funds in the event that performance criteria are not met.

“Henry County’s relationship with the Harvest Foundation helps us separate ourselves from other localities,” said Tim Hall, administrator for Henry County. “Economic development is a never-ceasing endeavor, and knowing that Harvest is a part of the team allows us to do things we otherwise may not be able to accomplish. We all have the same goal – to make Henry County and Martinsville better tomorrow than it is today.”

Martinsville and Henry County officials regularly partner on economic development projects with the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Leon Towarnicki, Martinsville’s city manager, said economic development and job creation are common denominators that impact many facets of the community, including the overall tax base, business growth, residential development, tourism and much more.

“As Martinsville-Henry County continues to work diligently to create opportunities for economic growth, the creation of this incentive pool fund is significant – it substantially raises our ability to remain competitive,” Towarnicki said. “In some cases, the ability to close a funding gap for certain projects by drawing on this incentive pool could be the difference between successfully landing a project locally, or seeing that project go elsewhere.”

Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville Henry County EDC, added, “The EDC appreciates the continued, strong support of The Harvest Foundation as we work to expand the tax base and bring higher paying jobs to the community in an ever-increasing competitive market.”