Throughout 2021, ARC hosted community conversations, focus groups, and a public survey to gather input and affirm an investment framework to meet Appalachia’s economic needs. Approximately 2,000 participants shared insights on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities facing communities, along with ideas to advance economic prosperity.
This feedback has been transformed into ARC’s new strategic plan, Appalachia Envisioned: A New Era of Opportunity, and will guide ARC’s work to innovate, partner, and invest in the Appalachian Region. ARC will formally adopt the plan and share a more robust strategy document in the coming weeks.
Strategic Investment Goals & Objectives
Building Appalachian Businesses
Strengthen and diversify the Region’s economy through inclusive economic development strategies and investments in entrepreneurship and business development.
Building Appalachia’s Workforce Ecosystem
Expand and strengthen community systems (education, healthcare, housing, childcare, and others) that help Appalachians obtain a job, stay on the job, and advance along a financially sustaining career pathway.
Building Appalachia’s Infrastructure
Ensure that the residents and businesses of Appalachia have access to reliable and affordable utilities and infrastructure in order to successfully live and work in the Region.
Building Regional Culture and Tourism
Strengthen Appalachia’s community and economic development potential by preserving and investing in the Region’s local, cultural heritage, and natural assets.
Building Community Leaders and Capacity
Invest in the capacity of local leaders, organizations, and communities to address local challenges by providing technical assistance and support to access resources, engage partners, identify strategies and tactics, and conduct effective planning and project execution.
To successfully implement its strategic mission, ARC commits itself to the following roles.
ARC seeks to catalyze innovation in the Region by cultivating and supporting new and burgeoning ideas for projects and activities in local communities.
ARC invests and leverages its resources in projects and activities designed to transform the Region’s economy and its communities’ well-being.
ARC supports the development of community leaders and overall community capacity to successfully plan, propose and implement innovative projects and initiatives; develops and shares best practices, and conducts outreach and technical assistance to bring new and/or under-resourced groups to the planning table.
ARC advocates for Appalachia and develops co-investment partnerships with other organizations at all levels—local, regional, national, and global.
ARC convenes, or supports convening of, broad and inclusive groups of stakeholders to identify, plan, and implement innovative local solutions for local challenges.
ARC conducts research that analyzes key economic, demographic, and quality-of-life factors that affect Appalachia’s future development prospects. Research informs best practices, helps ARC leadership and state and local partners target resources effectively, and provides valid data for outside researchers.
ARC evaluates grant implementation and outcomes to assess the extent to which funded projects contribute to ARC’s strategic goals, share and replicate best practices, and inform ongoing improvements to ARC programming.
ARC invests in and supports projects and activities that include intentional strategies to create a more equitable Appalachia.
ARC provides staff resources to support states and grantees with successful project implementation, including technical assistance, coaching, and problem solving to help overcome barriers to success.
Though updated for Appalachia’s current needs, ARC’s strategic investment goals closely align with its investment strategy over the past six years.
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