Appalachian Regional Commission Launches New Capacity-Building Initiative, Seeks Nonprofit Applicants for Fall Term

READY Appalachia will offer education, training, and flexible funding to help nonprofits, community foundations, local governments, and Local Development Districts better serve as pillars for community and economic development.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 21, 2022—Today the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced the launch of READY Appalachia, a community capacity-building initiative offering flexible funding to Appalachian nonprofit organizations, community foundations, local governments, and Local Development Districts (LDDs), and free cohort-based learning and hands-on training to the Appalachians who work for them.  Eligible participants can apply for one of READY Appalachia’s 10-week learning tracks, the first being READY Nonprofits, which is now accepting applications until August 19. This initiative is part of ARC’s larger investment priority of building community leaders and local capacity to effect long-lasting economic change, and is supported by funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Each of READY Appalachia’s learning tracks will help participants hone skills, refine organizational operations, develop additional expertise, leverage unprecedented federal investment opportunities, access other financial resources, and generate innovative project ideas to address community issues. Upon completion, participants can apply for match-free grants to scale and adapt existing work, launch ideas conceptualized during their learning track, and attract additional investment to fuel economic growth.

Across all learning tracks, special emphasis will be placed on increasing local capacity to reach, include, and serve Appalachia’s most rural and underrepresented communities.

“The Biden Administration has made historic levels of funding available to communities across Appalachia – funding that will be used to support sustainable economic growth,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “By helping local leaders and nonprofit organizations to build on their capacity to develop infrastructure projects and workforce development initiatives in our communities, READY Appalachia will also help increase equity for our Appalachian people and ensure that the region’s resilience and success will transform their future.”

Over the next year, ARC will launch four READY Appalachia learning tracks, including:

  • READY Nonprofits, which will help nonprofit executives and board members increase their capacity in fundraising, financial management, board development, staff and volunteer recruitment and retention, marketing and communications, and more. READY Nonprofits, developed by ARC in partnership with Hargrove International, is currently seeking applicants for its fall term. Apply by Friday, August 19 at www.arc.gov/READY.
  • READY Foundations, which will help local philanthropies working in economic development as they build endowments, leverage different funding sources, develop boards, and learn other foundation-specific fundraising methods.
  • READY Local Governments, which will help local government employees better apply for, manage, leverage, and implement federally funded projects to invest in infrastructure, business and workforce development, and other long-term solutions to improve the lives of residents.
  • READY Local Local Development Districts (LDDs), which will invest in staff support to enable LDDs to more effectively serve clients, including local governments, during this time of increased federal funding.

READY Appalachia is a one-of-its-kind initiative that will help Appalachia’s rural and underrepresented communities educate, train, and develop their local leaders so that they can all better serve their respective communities” said ARC States’ Co-Chair Governor Larry Hogan. “It’s important to provide local leaders with the tools and knowledge they need to work in the community and economic development of their region. This initiative will provide the necessary training and resources that will help local leaders in the Appalachian Region as they work to make their communities a better place.”

Applications and programming partner opportunities for READY Foundations, READY Local Governments, and READY LDDs will be announced on a rolling basis starting this fall. To learn more about READY Appalachia’s four learning tracks, visit www.arc.gov/READY

About READY Appalachia
READY Appalachia is an Appalachian Regional Commission community-capacity building initiative offering free training and flexible funding for nonprofit organizations, community foundations, local governments, and Local Development Districts (LDDs) in the Appalachian Region. Participants access cohort-based learning, skill-development, and grant opportunities to increase their capacity to solve pressing issues and effect long-lasting economic change in their communities. 

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.