What Friends of SWVA Can Do For You

What is Southwest Virginia?

Southwest Virginia is a 19 county, four cities and 53 towns 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 Southwest Virginia to the world as a distinct culture and destination
  • Developing and sustaining Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
  • Expanding outdoor recreation development initiatives and marketing throughout the region 
  • Planning and implementation of downtown revitalization throughout the region to instill a high quality of life within our communities and promote them to the world for a broad spectrum of economic development opportunities

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: VisitSWVA.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:

  • Content generation (photography, videography, blogs, itineraries)
  • SWVA Community Marketing Co-Op
  • Southwest Virginia merchandise and wholesale


No cost assistance:

  • Community and business listings on VisitSWVA.org in partnership with Virginia.org
  • Promote tourism via social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, 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
The Friends of Southwest Virginia works across a 19 county, four city and 53 town region to preserve, promote and present the cultural and natural assets, click here for more information on visiting our region.