Funding Criteria

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ACF provides grants to community-based organizations working for social, economic, racial and environmental justice. We support community organizing for social change that is community-led and community-based, addressing root causes and systemic issues, and understanding forms of oppression, especially racism. We encourage organizations that have developed a realistic plan for achieving change. We place a priority on work that utilizes organizing and education to promote social change and we invite projects that are startup in nature. We encourage groups to work together, share information, educate their target audiences and broaden the movement for progressive social change.

Organizations Wishing to Apply Should:
  • Have their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) organization
  • Work in the Appalachian counties of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and/or West Virginia. For organizations based outside the region, the proposal must include a specific work plan for the Appalachian portion of the work
  • Have and demonstrate an understanding and analysis of forms of oppression especially structural racism
  • Have strong local community leadership representative of and accountable to the organization’s constituency
Successful applicants

for all of ACF’s grant programs and initiatives must meet these basic guidelines:

  • Work to be funded must take place in Central Appalachian counties (click here to see a map of the region and listing of counties)
  • Demonstrate that social change is a part of their work or project
  • Be community-led, community-driven and community-based
  • Address change at a systemic level, instead of or in addition to one person at a time
  • Demonstrate some understanding of forms of oppression, especially racism.
ACF Does Not Fund:
  • Profit-making organizations
  • Electoral lobbying for initiatives or public office
  • Individual efforts
  • Major capital projects
  • Social services organizations unless they demonstrate some analysis and strategies to challenge the systems that lead to the problem
ACF grants are made for a variety of community-led efforts and approaches to social change including but not limited to:
  • Accessible health care and child care
  • Youth leadership development
  • Educational equality
  • Protection and preservation of civil liberties for all people
  • Disability rights and rights and benefits for disabled miners and their families
  • Racial justice and healing and establishing policies against hate crimes and homophobia
  • Arts and culture for social change
  • Tax reform
  • Issues of gender and sexual orientation
  • Domestic violence prevention, victim advocacy and healing
  • Environmental justice
  • Alternative arts and media
  • Low-income and working class rights
  • Grassroots coalition and networking
  • Economic development
  • Criminal justice
We fund organizations working to:
  • End racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism, and ableism
  • Promote non-violent communities
  • Build organizations that are fair, inclusive, and democratic

ACF supports using a wide range of tools to work for social change including community organizing, coalition building, community education, training, cultural work, and advocacy. In the case of requests to fund a resource for organizing such as videos or publications or the like, there must be a close connection to grassroots organizing efforts. We also look at how the community or the people the resource is created for are involved in shaping and directing it.


Find out Where We Fund.