September 1, 2011— The Board of Directors of the Appalachian Community Fund(ACF) announced their decision to place the leadership and ongoing development of ACF in the hands of Margo Miller. Miller stepped into the position of executive director, held by Gaye Evans for 14 years. Miller had served as the development director of ACF for the past three years, and as the interim director since Gaye’s departure in June of 2011. In her time as development director she raised more than $540,000 to support social justice work in Central Appalachia.
Miller is a daughter of Appalachia, born and raised in East Tennessee, grew up in Knoxville, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in broadcast communications. Miller remained in Knoxville after graduation working as a community organizer, facilitator, project director and administrator for a number of key social justice organizations, including the Highlander Research and Education Center, the Southern Partnership Fund, Project Change, the Southern Rural Development Initiative, Amnesty International and the Kellogg Foundation.
In addition to these affiliations, Miller has worked extensively with cultural activism and artistic expression of Appalachia. Through her work with the Carpetbag Theatre, a professional, multigenerational ensemble group committed to keeping the black experience alive in American theater, and her involvement with national groups like Alternative Roots and the National Performance Network, Miller has developed a deep commitment to art as a powerful tool for organizing and uniting communities.
In the late 90’s, Miller left the region and spent several years in Washington, DC. While living in the nation’s capital Miller further developed her skills as an administrator, fund raiser, communications expert and financial manager. Luckily for the region, Miller was called back to the mountains in 2008, and joined the Appalachian Community Fund as the development director. Her creativity and determination have brought renewed vision and purpose to the Fund.
Darryl Cannady, ACF Board Chair said “On behalf of the Board of Directors of Appalachian Community Fund, we are excited to announce the appointment of Ms. Miller as Executive Director, her enthusiastic charm, her ability to cultivate donors, and her leadership makes for a great executive director. We look forward to the future of ACF and the challenges of a changing Appalachia and we are sure that Ms. Miller will face those challenges with insight, fairness, and an overall love for the work she does in social justice and community change.”
The Appalachian Community Fund is a grant making resource for grassroots organizations working to change systemic economic, racial, environmental and social inequity in Central Appalachia including Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee and all of West Virginia. ACF has awarded over $5 million to more than 300 organizations over the past 24 years.
Miller is “committed to building the donor and foundation base of ACF to ensure that the legacy of social justice organizing is carried forth with all the richness and courage that are the hallmarks of the region.”