Strengthening Community Capacity Working Group

Community and place-based foundations play a significant and unique role in creating the conditions for people to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the economic transition. They build community capacity by developing partnerships, building trusting relationships, and giving voice to community-based priorities and realities that are going to move our communities forward. Read more about how the group defines community capacity here.

The community and place-based foundation landscape across central Appalachia is diverse. Some areas are served by established, multi-county foundations; others by young, single county foundations. Still others are not served by a community foundation at all. Strengthening community-based philanthropy will require a commitment on the part of many players: local, state, and regional.


  1. Strengthen the Capacity of Community Foundations

    Build the capacity of community foundations to be active change agents in the community, encouraging local engagement, innovation, and ownership while also leveraging resources to help communities become active partners in the Appalachian transition

  2. Ensure Effective Community Foundation Infrastructure

    Connect community foundations across the region to provide coordinated and aligned funders on the ground to advance an equitable Appalachian Transition

  3. Increase Philanthropic Resources

    Help community foundations advance the economic transition by supporting them to leverage resources towards the Appalachian transition

Read more about these priorities and ways the Appalachia Funders Network will advance these priorities by downloading the Collective Strategy document.


Co-Chairs of the Strengthening Community Capacity Working Group:

Jeff Mansour, The Thompson Charitable Foundation
Susan Urano, Athens Foundation

Members of the Strengthening Community Capacity Work Group

Marian Clowes, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation
Kristin Collins, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky
Paul Daugherty, Philanthropy West Virginia
Michelle Foster, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
Jen GiovannittiFederal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Mary Ann Holbrook, United Way of Southwest Virginia
Trudy Hughes, East Tennessee Foundation
Stephanie Hyre, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
Monica McCann, The Conservation Fund
Margo Miller, Appalachian Community Fund
Sue MorelandAppalachian Regional Commission
Susie NelsonCommunity Foundation for the Ohio Valley
Gerry Roll, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky
Mikki Sager, The Conservation Fund
Adam Short, Virginia Tech Foundation
Judy SjostedtParkersburg Area Community Foundation
Gabrielle Ratte Smith, Orton Family Foundation
Matthew Tejada, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Megan WanczykFoundation for Appalachian Ohio 
Mary Witten WisemanFoundation for the Tri-State Community