The Appalachia Funders Network is a group of 80 public and private grantmakers who envision an Appalachian economy that provides opportunity for all while sustaining the environmental and cultural assets of the region. Members of the Network work together across Central Appalachia to:
- Learn and share information about promising development ideas, projects and strategies,
- Deepen the collective analysis and understanding of entrepreneurial-based economic development issues, challenges, and opportunities within Appalachia,
- Build trusting and meaningful relationships among Appalachia-focused grantmakers, and
- Discover new and innovative ways of working together for the purpose of accelerating the economic transition of Central Appalachia.
Appalachia Funders Network is focused in Central Appalachia, the region we define as the Appalachian counties of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The Network's convergence of economic innovation, federal policy initiatives, expanded regional capacity, and regional and national funder interest offers unprecedented opportunities to:
- Deepen the impact and expand the scale of promising economic transition efforts,
- Develop and grow innovative approaches to building and growing wealth within the region, and
- Leverage existing resources to increase outside investment in Appalachia’s economic recovery.
Type of Organization
Issues of focus
Focus areas include funding for improvements in healthcare, food systems and strengthening community capacity.
History of Organization
Programs and Projects
Start Up Appalachia
Startup Appalachia is designed to foster cross-sector investment partnerships that support the acceleration and growth of promising projects within the region.
Specifically, this initiative aims to (1) identify promising efforts that could produce larger results for the economic transition of Central Appalachia, (2) encourage direct organizing by foundations to fund around the most promising work in the region, (3) leverage additional resources to scale projects, and (4) offer funders insight on how to capitalize on the investments they have made to date.
The goal of this project is to develop a common understanding, shared analysis, and set of regional strategies to address the systemic issues that lead to childhood obesity and undermine a strong culture of health in Central Appalachia.
This project will work to develop an analysis of the major funding trends and investment priorities of foundations, corporations, and high net worth individuals who have interest in the region but are not currently investing here. As part of this effort, the Network will explore ways to connect their funding priorities to targeted investment opportunities in Appalachia.
Partners and Frequent Collaborators
- Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
- Appalachian Community Fund
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- Osteopathic Heritage Foundations
- Chorus Foundation
- Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky
- USDA Rural Development West Virginia
- Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
- Athens Foundation
- USDA Rural Development Tennessee