Racial Equity

The Appalachia Funders Network Steering Committee commits of 10% or more of the Networks’ annual budget towards racial equity. This dedicated funding will accelerate our collective work, learning, and focus on centering equity in the Equitable Appalachian Transition. As a member, you will have unprecedented access to deepening your personal and organizational understanding of racial equity and implementing that learning. 

Spearheading this work will be Dr. Akuoma Nwadike of Inclusivity Education. Dr. Nwadike is a scholar and reacher-practitioner dedicated to Liberation through increasing Inclusivity. Dr. Nwadike uses scholarship, research-based best practices and originally designed frameworks to advocate for, design, implement, and measure Inclusivity development.


Primary Work


  • Listen & Learn Sessions (April-June 2021): 2-hour synchronous sessions focused on scholarly frameworks—always intertwined with Liberation Theory—that, when applied, move us towards more liberatory thinking and living. Time is split between receiving direct instruction, engaging in reflection and/or discussion, and beginning to apply processes based on the learning. Listen & Learns emphasize that work will not be done by the end of the sessions, always including post-session work and tools to continue personal and organizational journeys towards Liberation. Session 1 kicks off at the AFN Virtual Gathering, April 21 at noon. Register for the Virtual Gathering here.
  • Anti-Racist Development Course (Fall 2021): Project-based learning DEI course experience that will use Critical Race Theory, Identity Development Theory, and Allyship and Accompliceship working groups to foster anti-racist leadership development. This more in-depth work will be conducted in small group cohorts on a semi-monthly basis.
  • Inclusivity Appraisal and Implementation Cohort (Early 2022-late 2023): In-depth cohort dedicated to improving their internal policies/procedures, measuring impact more effectively, and funding more equitably over 2 years. Phase 1:Inclusivity Appraisal; Phase 2: Individualized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Professional Development Plans (DEI PDP; Phase 3: DEI PDP Implementation planning Phase 4: DEI PDP implementation.  In addition, these members would participate in monthly peer-to-peer learning calls with each other at a deep level.
  • Racial Identity Community Development (throughout 2022): Open sessions that guide individual s through the stages of anti-racist identity development.
  • Expert DEI Consulting for Members (Ongoing): Members will have access to schedule 30 minute “office hours” with Dr. Akuoma on a variety of topics.


You can read more about the Network plan by viewing these slides


We truly hope that you and your organization are as excited about this work as we are! Stay tuned for more details and registration for the first phases of work.