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AppFellows shares the Appalachia Funders Network’s framework for Appalachian Transition. This framework is a synthesis of 3 years of learning and analysis by members of the Network, and identifies the strategies, promising sectors, and partnerships that will advance Appalachia's transition. The work and learning components of AppFellows will be grounded in this framework.


About the Appalachia Funders Network  

The Appalachia Funders Network is a group of 70 public and private grant-makers who envision an Appalachian economy that provides opportunity for all while sustaining the environmental and cultural assets of our region. Members of the Network have come together in this time of economic, social, political, and environmental transition in Appalachia to:

  • Learn and share information about promising development ideas, projects and strategies
  • Deepen our collective analysis and understanding of entrepreneurial-based economic development issues, challenges, and opportunities within Appalachia. 
  • Build trusting and meaningful relationships among Appalachia-focused grant-makers, and
  • Discover new and innovative ways of working together for the purpose of accelerating the economic transition of Central Appalachia


Our work is focused in Central Appalachia, the region we define as the Appalachian counties of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. We believe that the current convergence of economic innovation, federal policy initiatives, expanded regional capacity, and regional and national funder interest offers unprecedented opportunities to:

  • Deepen the impact and expand the scale of promising economic transition efforts, 
  • Develop and grow innovative approaches to building and growing wealth within the region,  and
  • Leverage existing resources to increase outside investment in Appalachia's economic recovery  

During the Network’s 2012 Annual Gathering, grant-makers met with emerging leaders to discuss how the development of the next generation of leaders is critical to Appalachia’s economic transition. From this meeting, Network members from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and the One Foundation co-funded the research and planning of the AppFellows Program.