Investments in Action

Every year, ARC investments support hundreds of economic development projects benefiting Appalachia’s 420 counties. Projects align with one of five goals outlined in our current Strategic Plan. The resulting investments ultimately help Appalachian communities address economic disparity and advance prosperity.

Explore stories from ARC projects and partners across the Appalachian Region.

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Tennessee

Unicoi,

Erwin Utilities: Enhancing Broadband in Unicoi County

The town of Erwin, Tennessee is nestled in the mountains of Unicoi County (pictured above) and home to just over 6,000 residents. Though the area is abundant in undisturbed natural assets and access to major roadways, Unicoi is considered economically at-risk and has faced its fair share of challenges. After the coal-industry-related closure of a CSX rail yard in Erwin, around…
Tennessee

Cocke,

Great Smoky Mountains: Adventure Creates Opportunity in Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of two designations in Appalachia, was the country’s most-visited National Park in 2020. The Smokies’ 12.1 million visitors more than tripled the #2 most-visited destination, Yellowstone National Park. Though surrounding communities like Sevierville benefit greatly from this natural asset, one of the park’s three counties, Cocke, is still considered economically distressed. In fact, the county lacks recreational trails despite its proximity to…
New York, West Virginia

Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Preston,

Trail Systems: Guiding Communities to Opportunities

Every Appalachian state has ample trail opportunities, from the Tanglefoot Trail in Mississippi, to South Carolina’s Swamp Rabbit Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Trails are incredible gateways for attracting outside visitors and increasing quality of life for community members. ARC partners have long worked to establish trail systems that…
West Virginia

Kanawha, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers, Webster,

New River Gorge: America’s Newest National Park

West Virginia’s New River Gorge is America’s newest national park, which has made headlines in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Conde Nast Traveler. Though excited by the national attention and economic potential, West Virginians have always known this area as an invaluable natural asset. Over the years, ARC…
Pennsylvania

Allegheny, Bradford, Warren,

Pennsylvania Wilds: Connecting Nature, Culture, and Entrepreneurship

In Northern Pennsylvania, 50 state game lands, 29 state parks, 8 state forests, and one National Forest combine to form an ultimate outdoor destination – the Pennsylvania Wilds. Besides being a haven of outdoor recreation, what else do the 12 counties comprising the PA Wilds have in common? They’re considered coal-impacted, and have felt the effects of America’s changing energy production. Though beautiful, the rugged…
Rural Action
Ohio

Athens, Hocking, Perry,

Rural Action: Moving Forest Communities Forward in Ohio

Though Appalachia has two incredible national parks, the Region is also filled with 16 National Forests. ARC partners are finding ways to connect those assets, which are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, with surrounding communities to sustainably leverage the economic potential. One great example? Rural Action in Ohio, which is using ARC POWER support to strengthen their community through Asset-based Entrepreneurship: Trails,…
Appalachian Teaching Project Students
West Virginia

Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Summers, Webster,

West Virginia University Research Corporation: Inspiring Hope in the Mountain State

West Virginia, though improving in many measures, has the most drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people of any other state. Fortunately, the Mountain State also has an incredible host of ARC partners, local leaders, and community members committed to overcoming this challenge. This list includes West Virginia University Research Corporation and the Institute for Community and Rural Health (WVU…
Kentucky

Knott, Perry,

Kentucky River Community Care: Building Bridges to Long-Term Recovery

At 39% participation, Eastern Kentucky has the lowest workforce participation rate among ages 18-24 in the nation. This area also finds itself at the epicenter of our nation’s substance abuse crisis, creating a unique challenge for both the health and economic capacity of communities. That’s why a number of organizations, like Kentucky River Community Care, Inc. (KRCC), work every day…
North Carolina

Wilkes,

Wilkes Recovery Revolution: Supporting Fresh Starts in North Carolina

Since 2016, Wilkes Recovery Revolution, Inc. (WRR) has worked to make recovery a reality in North Carolina. WRR was founded by Devin Lyall,  whose own experience in long-term recovery helps inform the nonprofit’s services, peer-driven structure and leadership – including a board of directors made up of over 50% individuals in recovery. WRR’s partnership with ARC began in 2019, when Lyall began…
Community Recovery Program’s Program Manager Lisa Smith with the Champions award for community collaboration.
Virginia

Henry, Patrick, City of Martinsville,

Piedmont Community Services Board: Expanding Community Connection in Virginia

Community Recovery Program’s Program Manager Lisa Smith with the Champions award for community collaboration. Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, Community Service Boards (CSBs) serve as joint partnerships between state and local governments to meet critical behavioral health needs in every county. Piedmont Regional Community Services Board has long served as one of…
Ohio

Lawrence,

Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization: Expanding Recovery Ecosystems in OH, KY and WV

The Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization (ILCAO) is dedicated to improving the well-being of residents of Lawrence County, Ohio by providing assistance for housing, homelessness, and nutrition, early childhood services, and job training opportunities. Together these services are having a critical impact in a county where economic distress is steadily increasing. Now, with a $500,000 grant from ARC’s INvestments Supporting Partnerships…
Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia

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A High School Shark Tank in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia

“Revolutionary Unique” was one of the many businesses pitched at the Dare to DreamCompetition for high school students in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Creating a brighter economic future for Appalachia means investing in leadership skills and capacity of young doers, thinkers and leaders today. That’s why ARC…
Tennessee

Hamblen,

Helping Women Enter the Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem in Appalachian Tennessee

Across Appalachia, developing a ready workforce must include helping workers re-enter and retain employment. Since 2017, the staff at the Helen Ross McNabb Center in Morristown, Tennessee, has been doing just that. The McNabb Center’s Jail to Work program gives women serving in county jails on drug offenses the…