Steering Committee

The Steering Committee of the Appalachia Funders Network is the main governing body and is responsible for the growth, development and well-being of the Network. It consists of a set group of influential local, state, regional, international, federal, public, and private grantmakers who are working collectively to guide the overarching roles, activities, and impacts of the Network. They attend monthly conference calls and serve on at least one working group or ad-hoc committee.

Co-Chairs of the Appalachia Funders Network Steering Committee

Michelle Foster, President and CEO, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation 

Lora Smith, Executive Director, Appalachian Impact Fund

2022 Steering Committee Members

Garrett Blaize, Grants Manager, Appalachian Community Fund

Cynthia Brown, Chairman of the Board, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation

Bonnie Blankenship, Regional Outreach Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Jeff Mansour, Program Director, Thompson Charitable Foundation

Laura Nixon, Senior Program Officer, Educational Foundation of America

Kerry Pigman, Executive Director, Athens County Foundation

Heather Pontonio, Senior Program Director at Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation 

Stephanie Randolph, Program Officer, Cassiopeia Foundation and Representative of Invest Appalachia

Gerry Roll, Executive Director, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky

Jennifer Simon, Program Manager, Appalachian Regional Commission

Hannah Vargason, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, Partner Community Capital


Kit Matthew, PhD., MBA, Executive Director (read Kit's bio)

Hailey Rudd, Membership and Grants Administrator