Philanthropic Engagement Project

In 2015, the Appalachia Funders Network, Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation began a campaign targeted at increasing philanthropic investments to accelerate the region’s economic transition. The campaign seeks to leverage five million dollars in new investments by December 2017 and $500,000 in new investments by December 2015. The project also aims to increase the Network’s membership base by 25 new members in December 2017 and 8-10 new members by December 2015. Click here for more details about this project’s goals, strategies, activities, and leadership.

Project Rationale

Central Appalachia and rural America in general, face a trend of declining investments. This project has served as an opportunity to mobilize prospective national funders to invest in the region: example of success is JTF.

The project has helped catalyze several opportunities to leverage more meaningful investment in the region's transition despite the decline in investments made to rural America. The following are inspiring examples of the project's success:

  • The Changing our Futures Project Funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • The Just Transition Fund 
  • The USDA Rural Communities Development Initiative Grant Fund

Project Leadership

An Advisory Group oversees the project, provides strategic advice, and monitors its implementation. This group includes private and community foundations, federal agencies, and economic development practitioners. Members include:

  • Cuong Huang, Chorus Foundation
  • Gerry Roll, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky
  • Mary Hunt, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
  • Ray Daffner, Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Kim Tieman, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
  • Michelle Decker, Rural Action
  • Burt Lauderdale, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • Marten Jenkins, National Community Investment Fund
  • Sandra Mikush, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation