Eric Smith joined Rural Action in 2016 as Chief Program Officer. Before joining Rural Action, Eric served as a Community Development Coordinator with Think Tank, Inc based in Springfield, Ohio. During the 8 years he spent there, he helped launch various collaborative initiatives tackling tough social issues. This work included the establishment of the Miami Valley Fatherhood Initiative to pilot and scale promising practices related to father absence, and the Springfield Promise Neighborhood initiative to pilot and scale promising practices related to the achievement gap that exists between poor youth in low-income neighborhoods and their better off peers. Prior to Think Tank, Eric served in Africa with an international development organization, and on a workforce development program with a local community action agency. Eric received his BA from Taylor University with a double major in History and International Studies. He is working to complete his MA in Community Development from North Dakota State University. Eric holds professional certifications in such areas as Asset Based Community Development. He has also taught a Building Leaders to Build Communities class through Clark State Community College. Eric’s experience and education have helped to strengthen his natural interests, abilities, and skills in everything from community, program, and organizational development to workshop facilitation and curriculum writing. For sixteen years Eric has been using his skill set in one way or another to build communities where ALL people can thrive regardless of socioeconomic background.