What Friends of SWVA Can Do For You

What is Southwest Virginia?

Southwest Virginia is a 19 county, four city and 54 town region that makes up the southwestern corner of the state and shares a border with North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Who We Are

The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation, established in 2008 by the Virginia General Assembly as a state foundation, and the Friends of Southwest Virginia, a 501(c)3 non-profit, work together with a joint mission of developing a creative economy in Southwest Virginia. From the arts and music of the region to cultural goods and services capitalized through tourism to research and development, the joint work of the Foundation and the non-profit is revolutionizing the rural economic development system of Southwest Virginia and providing thousands of new jobs to the people of this region.

Key initiatives include:

  • Branding and marketing SWVA to the world as a distinct cultural and adventure destination.
  • Developing and sustaining Heartwood: Gateway to Southwest Virginia as a visitor and cultural center.
  • Expanding outdoor recreation development initiatives and marketing throughout SWVA.
  • Creating new jobs throughout the region through creative economy start-ups connected to cultural, heritage and outdoor recreation developments.

Tourism Marketing

On your behalf:

  • Promote Southwest Virginia as a premiere travel destination
  • Promote your destination through the following:
    • Region-wide marketing collateral
    • Consumer website: MySWVA.org
    • Partner website: FriendsOfSWVA.org
  • Press releases and travel media familiarization tours
  • Direct marketing campaigns
  • Regional itineraries
  • Region-wide advertising campaigns
  • Electronic consumer and group email newsletters
  • Social media promotion


Co-op opportunities:


No cost assistance:

  • Community and business listings on MySWVA.org in partnership with Virginia.org
  • Promote tourism via social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat
  • Opportunity to post special offers and packages
  • Expert advice from SWVA staff members on research, public relations, advertising, product collateral development, social media and other tourism industry-related topics
  • Distribute brochures at Heartwood: Gateway to Southwest Virginia
  • Representatives available to speak at programs, conferences, and community meetings

Heartwood: Gateway to SWVA

Co-op support:

  • Regional visitor center and promotion of regional brochures and events
  • Regional artisan marketplace in partnership with Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network
  • Regional music promotion as the retail center and headquarters of The Crooked Road: VA’s Heritage Music Trail
  • Southwest Virginia merchandise headquarters and wholesale program with the Winze Company
  • Promotion and marketing of regional products and gifts
  • Promotion and use of regional foods, products and beverages in the Heartwood Restaurant


No cost assistance:

  • Regional visitor center and promotion of regional brochures and events


Community & Economic Development

No cost assistance:

  • Action group facilitation and planning
  • Anchor area development and planning
  • In-depth product development planning and assistance
  • Grant development, administration and implementation
  • Capacity building and community engagement strategies
  • Creative economy start-up business assistance
  • Business collaborative strategic support