Jen Giovannitti, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

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How did you come to work in community development?

I grew up in the Appalachian area of Pennsylvania, in an area that was very rural and mountainous. I went to undergrad in Pittsburgh, PA, and I became fascinated with how other types of cities work. I focused my undergraduate studies in that direction and then went to graduate school for community and regional planning in Vancouver, BC. I was exposed to the Cascadia mindset, which was more environmentally and international development planning focused. That’s where my real passion for community development took root. The biggest trajectory of my career was when I was awarded a research fellowship and lived in Vietnam for 2 years. At that time, Vietnam was the 13th poorest country in the world. My research focused on a project about slum settlement relocation and another on marketplaces and women’s role in the household economy. Looking back, it was specifically relevant to Appalachia and the importance of “place” in our lives because in a communist country like Vietnam, they can literally relocate people, but the people inevitably gravitate back to these places where they feel they want to live. I truly loved poverty alleviation work because it allowed me to see the compelling and entrepreneurial subcultures of people that exist in places like slum settlements. 

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Network Guidelines

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Carolina Textile District: Thriving Here

Changing the way that manufacturing is done in the rural South. Learn how the Carolina Textile District is revitalizing the textile industry by supporting small to mid-size manufacturing firms, encouraging environmental sustainability and creating better quality jobs.

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Request for LOI Announcement

"New funding opportunity! Through this Request for Letters of Inquiry (RFLOI), The Educational Foundation of America seeks to improve access to abortion and contraception in the Central Appalachian region. For a complete copy of this RFLOI and access to our online application, please visit: http://www.theefa.org/reproductive-health-and-justice/ Please share widely!

Questions? Please contact Laura Nixon – lnixon@theefa.org.”

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$38.8 million in POWER Grants Awarded for 29 Economic and Workforce Development Projects

We are so excited to read the latest news release from the White House announcing the $38.8 million in POWER grants that have been awarded. Congratulations to our partners and colleagues in Appalachia who are working so hard to achieve the Appalachian Transition--we know that these awards will play a huge role in our progress toward that goal.


Margo Miller, Appalachian Community Fund

"It’s going to take all of us working together to create just, equitable, and healthy communities in Appalachia."  - Margo Miller

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Your career path has led you through many experiences with social justice and arts advocacy. How do these experiences inform your work in philanthropy?

My entry into the world of social justice came from working with the Carpetbag Theatre, a professional, multigenerational ensemble company whose mission is to give artistic voice to the issues and dreams of people who have been silenced by racism, classism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.   Through them, I was also introduced to Alternate Roots, a regional group of artists who use art and culture as a tool for social change and social justice.  Ever since then, I have been committed. I loved using artistic expression and working collaboratively with other artists and community members to make positive change.

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The Vital Role of Food and Food Systems in Central Appalachia's Public Health

This video presentation by Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean of the ETSU College of Public Health, provides a data-driven explanation of Central Appalachia's public health challenges, explores the most critical factors impacting our region's health, and proposes an integrated approach to improving Central Appalachia's health that emphasizes the role of food & food systems. The video was made possible through the Food and Ag Systems Working Group partnership with the Health Working Group, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 


Impact investing Webinar: Regional Survey Findings and Opportunities

The Appalachia Funders Network asked its members to complete a survey on regional impact investing interests and support needs. The aim of this survey was to better understand the needs of various stakeholders in the use of impact investing as a tool to help build healthy, equitable and environmentally sustainable communities throughout Central Appalachia. Our guest speaker, Lisa Richter of Avivar Capital, administered the survey and presented her findings and highlighted areas for potential collaboration among members in this webinar recording. To download a pdf of the slides from the webinar presentation, click here.

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Health

The Health Working Group has several reports and publications that are the result of members collaborating on shared interests. Click the following link for the reports and tools.

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Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA): Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Program

The Rural Housing Service (RHS), an agency within the USDA Rural Development mission area announces the availability of funding under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program. Applicants must provide matching funds in an amount at least equal to the Federal grant, and applications are due July 22, 2016.

Further guidance will be provided prior to the application deadline.

Please contact Shirley Stevenson at (202)205-9685 or  Shirley.Stevenson@wdc.usda.gov with questions.