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One of our ACF Divas recently shared with me an article that said writing an appeal letter was a creative process. Well I must admit that my creative bone has been a little paralyzed here lately with everything going on in the world and our region right now. Between the election, arson-started wildfires in our beautiful Appalachian Mountains, people terrorizing college campuses, police shootings… goodness y’all, I’ve just been stumped and numb. I’m on pause.

When at the office I continue to reflect on the fact that we have taken a break from General Fund grantmaking. Even though we have been working hard on providing technical assistance, planning and information gathering opportunities for our grantees, and honoring our Appalachian Heroes, we have to pause and step back to think strategically about reshaping and reimagining ourselves and old models so we can be more sustainable and continue with our legacy of providing resources to those working to address systemic oppression and helping move us toward an equitable transition. As I reflect about my own personal moments and my work at ACF, I realize it’s not just me. This is not only one person or one organization — it’s a collective struggle. Many of us have hit the pause button.


After looking at the definition there is comfort in realizing, this is only temporary and brief.

Here at ACF we are still partnering with other organizations in unique ways to provide technical assistance for our grantees. We have an application pending to provide grantees with digital storytelling skills that will enable them to create and share their stories. We are in the beginning stages of launching our recently awarded Out in the South grant. With this grant we will be collaborating with The STAY Project for this planning grant. We will seek to serve LGBTQ communities and individuals in the Central Appalachian region, with an emphasis on those that are living in rural and disenfranchised communities.   Through our networks and relationships, we continue to leverage resources for our grantees via the Appalachian Funders’ Network, Resist and other grant opportunities that fill my constantly full inbox. These don’t show up on annual reports, but it’s still work that is done. Some years it’s more than $100,000 in leveraged dollars for Change, not Charity work. Despite this fact, it still doesn’t feel like enough and I wonder what’s next, what more can I do right now? With those questions, again, I hit pause.

Great clarity oftentimes comes in moments of silence. That’s one benefit I’ve found in this pause.

I’ve found that I am not alone. We are not alone. Many of us are wondering what’s next. What do we do? What is our Call to Action? I was just at a conference standing in a circle with like-minded funders, artists, and activists asking the same questions. One response that resonated with me was,  “Many of us feel a certain way, but I am soothed by the fact, that we have always been doing this work and despite what the world throws our way, we will continue to do the work that makes a difference. We may have to work a little harder, but we will continue to do the work. Amen!

I must say they were right, even though things are tough and it feels very heavy, we are still committed to get past this current situation and do what we have been doing for almost thirty years. We will continue to work with and for grass roots organizations who are working to address the underlying causes of poverty and oppression in our beautiful region. We will continue to find ways of growing and leveraging resources to support that work. We will take the occasional pause, but always be ready to hit the play button when it’s time to stand and move with those of us who want change.

I hope that you will be encouraged to know that despite all that we are dealing with internally and externally, we are still committed to walk alongside you and all the folks in the region who are committed to make a more just and equitable region for all of us to live and to work. So right now and when we continue grantmaking, and believe me, even if it’s not at the same level, we will continue grantmaking, and we will need your support to do that work.

We pause only long enough to gather our strength, courage, and insight for what’s next. I thank you for your continued support. We need you now more than ever. We need to stand together and stand by our commitment to Change, not CharityTM.

I believe! I do believe!

Faith is the key. Open the doors and board them. There’s hope for all….

Will you Sing With Me?

Peace, love, and justice,

Margo Miller
Executive Director
Appalachian Community Fund

P.S. Your gift will truly make a difference!