Appalachia Funders Network

learning. analysis. collaboration.

During the 2011 Network Gathering in Charleston, WV, over 45 grantmakers representing approximately 35 organizations spent significant time thinking about the role and work of the Appalachia Funders Network. The ideas generated from that Gathering were utilized to develop a vision and plan of action for our collective work, which is outlined below. This document is a response to a mandate from Network members to produce a road map for our work ahead.

With that mandate in mind, this road map is an interconnected set of goals, indicators of progress, and concrete action steps for the Appalachia Funders Network. This is not an operational plan to be followed step-by-step; rather, it is an interrelated set of broad goals and action steps for the network, all of which will move forward simultaneously. We see this road map as a suggestion rather than a prescription.

Goal I- Connect & Share

Members of the Appalachia Funders Network who share similar interests and priorities are working together to deepen the impact and expand the scale of their work.

18-month indicators of progress:

  • Individual Network members possess a deeper understanding of the focus, priorities and strategies of other grantmakers within the Network.
  • Members of the Network are well-connected to those who share similar interests and priorities.
  • Network members have clear opportunities to collaborate.

Over the next 18 months, the Network will

  • Encourage participation on Funder Match, the members-only social networking site, for funders to exchange information, align resources and targets, and identify common interests.
  • Host the 2014 and 2015 Network Gathering. Plan for the 2016 Network Gathering.
  • Utilize Network Gatherings to intentionally connect grantmakers with similar interest.   

Goal II- Learn & Analyze

Grantmakers within the Network have a common analysis, shared vision, and collectively defined strategies for accelerating the economic transition of Central Appalachia.

18-month indicators of progress:

  • Network members have developed a common analysis of the entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges within promising economic development sectors including food systems, community capacity, health, and others.
  • Through participation in Network supported working groups, projects, and/or initiatives, Network members have begun to develop a shared understanding of the key opportunities and challenges for accelerating the economic transition of Appalachia.

Over the next 18 months, the Network will:

  • Support the activities and management of the existing Food Systems Working Group, Health Working Group, Startup Appalachia, and the Community Capacity Working Group.
  • Host at least one face-to-face learning exchange in conjunction with a working group.
  • Host online learning opportunities in conjunction with at least two of the working groups.
  • Support the development of member driven projects and/or initiatives that promote collective action toward accelerating the economic transition of Central Appalachia.
  • Further develop and utilize the Network’s Working Framework for an Economic Transition.

Goal III- Collaborate

Network members are collaborating across sectors (i.e. nonprofit, business, local, state and federal government) to leverage additional investments in entrepreneurial-based activities within Central Appalachia.

18-month indicators of progress:

  • An increase in the number of new relationships, strategic linkages and/or partnerships formed between Network members and representatives of the public and private sectors.
  • An increase in the number of federal agencies, banks, and business sector representatives actively engaged in Network activities.

Over the next 18 months, the Network will:

  • Conduct targeted outreach and relationship building with Federal agencies, banks, and business sector representatives with an interest in the economic transition of the region.
  • Explore linkages and potential partnerships between the Network and existing Federal initiatives.
  • Campaign for investment in Appalachia with national funders who do not currently make grants in the region.

Goal IV- Sustain the Network

An effective, low-cost, funder-driven Network exists to help coordinate, facilitate, and focus the collective energy of interested grantmakers.

18-month indicators of progress:

  • The Network is focused, well-managed, and has made significant progress toward the implementation of the Network Road Map.
  • The Network has clearly defined internal policies, processes, and procedures.
  • The Network is making significant progress toward a self-sustaining funding model.

Over the next 18 months, the Network will:

  • Carry out the activities defined in the Network Road Map.
  • Publish the Quarterly Connections newsletter to update members on the Network’s activities.
  • Collect membership dues on an annual basis to support the Network’s long-term financial sustainability.
  • Create and implement a measurement plan to capture the results and lessons of the Network.
Click here to download a pdf of the 2014-2015 Road Map