Hometown: Ona, WV
Brandon is Ashley Dennison’s husband and father to their boys: Owen and Will. Born and raised in West Virginia, he is Founder and CEO of Coalfield Development, which incubates social enterprises designed to diversify Appalachia’s coal-based economy and cultivate opportunity for people facing barriers to employment. Dennison graduated from Shepherd University with a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Political Science. He holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University. In 2017, Brandon was named West Virginian of the Year by WV Living Magazine. In 2016, he was named one of “40 Under 40: Young Leaders Who Are Solving the Problems of Today” by the Chronical on Philanthropy. He is winner of the JMK Social Innovation Prize, is a DRK Entrepreneur, and is an Ashoka Fellow.
As a college student, Brandon Dennison volunteered with his church to repair homes in West Virginia’s coal country. He never forgot seeing people his own age desperate for paying work. In 2010, Brandon founded Coalfield Development Corporation as a community-based non-profit organization providing affordable homes, creating quality jobs, and generating opportunities for full life for low- income families in southern West Virginia. The Coalfield Development Corporation offers on-the-job-training, education, and mentoring to people in the southern coalfields. Brandon was quoted in the Bill Moyers “Making Change” series, saying, “Our responsibility is to create opportunity, then to provide encouragement and build the self-confidence necessary for pursuing opportunity.” Coalfield Development has created more than 200 new jobs, over 50 new businesses, and more than 800 professional certification opportunities for unemployed people, many of whom were laid-off coalminers.
Favorite movie quote: “I’m not a smart man but I know what love is.” – Forrest Gump
Personal mantra/motto: “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly…”
Contact Brandon: firstname.lastname@example.org