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#ThisIsAppalachia: Appalachian Funders Network

by Margo Miller October 21, 2019

Many years ago, I walked into a room with a bunch of folks, some I knew, but most I didn’t know. We came from government agencies, national, private, family, and community foundations. Even though we were very different, there was something we all had in common. We shared a common purpose and vision.


Information about the Network from our Website

Purpose
Accelerate an equitable Appalachian transition by convening and connecting funders for learning, analysis, and collaboration.

Vision
Envision a healthy, equitable, and vibrant region that, through strong partnerships, civic engagement, and leadership, preserves our unique assets and provides prosperity for all.

Goals

Build Relationships & Trust Among Appalachia Funders.

Network members have relationships & trust, leading to consistent communication, mutual support, and collaborative partnerships.

Facilitate Common Understanding, Analysis & Vision.

Network members are working from a common analysis, shared vision, and collectively defined set of promising practices to accelerate the Appalachian transition.

Foster Cross Sector Connections & Collaborations.

Network members are collaborating across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to solve complex problems and accelerate large scale change.

Align Existing Resources & Leverage New Investments. 

Network members are working together to coordinate local and regional grantmaking while leveraging outside investments and support for the Appalachian transition.

Support Network Leadership & Network Structure. 

The network has the leadership, structure, and capacity to advance its goals.


Every year at the annual gathering, we discovered there were those among us who had areas of work where we were interested in diving deeper. The first to form was the food and agriculture workgroup, shortly followed by health, energy and natural resources, place-based foundations , arts and culture and downtown revitalization. Most recently added is the equity committee formed to make sure to look at the work of the group through an equity lens.

As we prepare for our 11th gathering I realize that I get to be in a room full of folks, not so much strangers anymore, even though every year there are more new faces there, but more as folks who are working to leverage resources for our region on this journey to a just and equitable transition.

This is the Appalachian Funders Network. This is Appalachia!