Rural Prosperity Summit Speaker

Mary Beth Bass

Mary Beth Bass
Executive Director
One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

Mary Beth Bass serves as the Executive Director for the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc. In the position since December 2015, Mary Beth’s role is to work collaboratively with the One Sumter Board of Directors and other strategic community partners throughout Sumter County to implement the goals and priorities of One Sumter’s Business Action Plan in four key areas: Economic

Development, Workforce Development, Marketing and Communications, and Transportation. With over 100 donors to One Sumter, Mary Beth works to invest the Foundation’s $2.2 Million to further economic development priorities around broadband capacity and fiber connectivity, education and workforce development, leadership development, downtown revitalization, crime and public safety, marketing, and transportation, among others.

Mary Beth previously served as a Public Service Assistant at the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development—a Public Service and Outreach Unit of UGA. In that role, Mary Beth worked to develop, design and deliver community leadership programs to communities throughout Georgia, working with both rural and urban counties to identify and address significant growth challenges. Through that work, Mary Beth managed a pilot project of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development called GeorgiaLEADS. Partnering with nine pilot communities and two, multi-county regions throughout Georgia, Mary Beth provided the leadership and oversight of GeorgiaLEADS—managing both the planning, design and assessment process of the statewide initiative, while also coordinating the relevant expertise of Fanning’s diverse faculty to respond to each community’s unique leadership development needs and challenges. Mary Beth continues to support the GeorgiaLEADS initiative by serving as the Program Coordinator for the 21-County regional leadership development program, Locate South GeorgiaLEADS.

Prior to joining the faculty at Fanning, Mary Beth served as the Economic Development Director for the City of Perry, joining the City in 2012. Working with community entities to develop and implement a strategic vision for the City of Perry in terms of economic development, Mary Beth actively worked to fulfill the role of liaison between the City and its economic development partners throughout Houston County, launching key priorities for the City including the Perry Main Street Program, Perry’s participation in the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing, the Annual New Year’s Eve Buzzard Drop, the Perry Master Plan, the City of Perry’s Strategic Plan, and the Perry Leadership Institute, in partnership with the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce.

She also served the University of Georgia through her work with the Archway Partnership in both Glynn and Pulaski Counties, working with community partners to develop a program of work around key community priorities, such as leadership development, economic development, community health, planning for quality growth, and service delivery.

Holding a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Urban Management and Policy from University of North Carolina at Charlotte and an AB in Political Science from the University of Georgia, Mary Beth was named the 2013 Business Woman of the Year by the Perry Area Chamber of Commerce. She is an active member of the Americus Rotary Club, Americus Main Street, Ignite College & Career Academy, and the Southwest Georgia Railroad Excursion Authority. Mary Beth serves on the Advisory Committee for Innovative Senior Solutions in Americus and the Fox Theatre Institute’s Preservation Planning Grant Review Committee for preservation projects statewide.

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