Power and Powerlessness Fund

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The Power and Powerlessness Fund was founded by John Gaventa, and funded from the royalties of his prize-winning book, Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion, published by the University of Illinois Press in 1982. During the work on the PhD, John spent a great deal of time in the Appalachian coal communities about which the book was written, particularly the four counties of Campbell and Claiborne in Tennessee, and Bell and Whitley in Kentucky. 

This fund was created as a modest way to attempt to thank these communities and organizations for all of the lessons they taught, the hospitality they gave, and the courage which they exhibit in challenging the issues of power and powerlessness in the region.


The purpose of the Power and Powerlessness Fund is to provide modest amounts of support to non-profit organizations seeking to challenge injustice and inequality and to overcome powerlessness in the Appalachian Region, with a special but not exclusive focus on the four counties of the Clear Fork Valley area. Special consideration shall be given to requests from organizations which supported the research and writing of the book.

Grant Guidelines

To be eligible for a Power and Powerlessness Fund grant, organizations should have their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) organization. Grants can be used for but not limited to:

  • workshops and learning
  • participatory research
  • action or service projects
  • organizational development
  • other social change activities as deemed consistent with the overall intent and consistent with the charitable intent of the Appalachian Community Fund.

Given the size of the fund, the grants will not normally exceed $500 to any organization per year. The grant is to be used within one calendar year of receipt. A report on how grant funds were used is required at the end of that year.

To Apply

Send a brief description of your organization, the purpose of your request and how funds will be used to Margo Miller. This description should not exceed one page.

Your request will be acknowledged via email. Your request will then be reviewed and presented for approval. You will receive notification via email or mail, depending on how you submitted your proposal, within 4 weeks.


Proposals are accepted anytime. Each request will be considered on an individual basis. Please allow at least a month to process the request.

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


Please contact ACF by phone at 865.523.5783 or by email at grants@appalachiancommunityfund.org