The Center for Rural Development launches regional fundraiser

Published 10:57 am Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Center for Rural Development, in partnership with Conley Bottom Resort, is launching a regional fundraising event to support its three summer youth leadership programs and give one lucky person a chance to win a houseboat vacation on Lake Cumberland.

The grand prize in The Center’s Youth Programs Houseboat Vacation Raffle is a maximum three-day houseboat vacation package valued up to $3,500 based on seasonal rates, plus a $200 fuel allowance.

Proceeds from ticket sales will help to support nearly 300 middle and high school students who attend The Center’s Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers, and Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) youth leadership programs each summer.

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“We are grateful to Conley Bottom Resort for their continued support to help us raise funds for students in our youth leadership programs,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center. “For every $5 ticket you purchase, you are helping a student in your community receive the skills and training needed to become the region’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as the opportunity to obtain college scholarships to continue their education.”

This is the 10th year The Center has partnered with Conley Bottom Resort in Wayne County to offer a houseboat vacation on Lake Cumberland.

Tickets are $5 each and may be purchased Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset.

The winning ticket will be drawn at noon EST on July 29. The winner does not need to be present to win and will be notified immediately following the drawing.

“The youth leadership programs provided by The Center for Rural Development are making a difference in the lives of young people in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said Fred Piercy, manager at Conley Bottom Resort. “We are excited to continue to support these worthwhile programs and the students who will be attending this year’s summer leadership camps.”

Ticket sales from this year’s houseboat vacation fundraiser will go to support students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky who attend Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers, and ELI.

Nicole Hesse, a junior at Wayne County High School, attended all three of The Center’s youth leadership programs. She is a 2018 Rogers Scholars graduate; a 2017 graduate of ELI and winner of the ELI business concept challenge for her team’s business idea for a nonprofit organization to help start-up businesses, which earned her a scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University; and a 2016 graduate of Rogers Explorers.

“Throughout my years involved with youth programs at The Center, I have learned so much. From leadership and entrepreneurship to information about college and networking, Rogers Explorers, Rogers Scholars and ELI have impacted my life so drastically,” Hesse said. “I still to this day contact friends that I have met from all three programs, some that I met the summer before freshman year.

“Without these programs, I would not be the student, classmate, friend, daughter, or sister that I am today,” she added. “Not only have the programs changed my life, but also changed my school and community. Both my school and community have been so gracious in letting me incorporate the skills I have learned to make a difference. With the youth programs at The Center, I have finally realized my potential to change the world, and for that I am forever honored and thankful for these programs.”

For more information or to inquire about ticket sales, call 606-677-6000 or email Keep up to date on the latest news on the fundraising event at or follow on Facebook at

The value of the prize will be subject to seasonal rates and is considered taxable income to the winner, which will be reported to the U.S. government as well as the winner on form 1099. This is a maximum three-day vacation and must be redeemed by the end of 2019.

Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In its 45-county primary service region, The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.