2013 Proceedings: Harnessing the Power of the Network to Accelerate Appalachia's Transition
Harnessing the Power of the
Network to Accelerate
The Appalachia Funders Network
4th Annual Gathering
In March 2013 the Appalachia Funders Network hosted its largest Gathering to date in
Asheville, NC.With over 138 individuals representing 104 organizations, this year’s
Gathering was a realization of the vision established by the Network in 2010: a vision
that includes deep relationships and trust among grantmakers; a common analysis
and framework for accelerating the economic transition of Central Appalachia; and
partners from across sectors collaborating for deeper impact.
As we have reﬂected on the 2013 Gathering and the development of the Network
over the past 4 years, we have found that the following assumptions guiding our work
have been conﬁrmed and reinforced:
1. Convening an inﬂuential set of cross sector actors – from the local to the re
gional and national scale – will have lasting impact on the region. The Federal
Reserve Banks of Richmond, Atlanta, and Cleveland partnered with the Network
to host a strategy session focused on expanding and aligning capital in the region.
The Appalachian Regional Commission used the Gathering as a platform to launch
their regional FoodwaysTour. Seven participants from USDA Rural Development,
representing 5 states, played an active role in this year’s Gathering. And over 30
organizations and businesses shared their innovative approaches to development
during our site visits.We are seeing early evidence that this type of cross sector
participation in Network activities leads to greater alignment of resources and
approaches, contributing to more eﬀective economic development eﬀorts across
2. Hands on learning around successful eﬀorts and strategies will have a posi
tive impact on the way we work and invest in our own communities. Each
year, Gathering participants report that site visits are impactful and inﬂuential in helping to guide and inform their own
development eﬀorts.Therefore, we dedicated a full day to site visits that were designed to identify replicable models and
strategies that can help to scale development eﬀorts in other parts of the region.The learning and networking that grows
out of these conversations contributes directly to more impactful and strategic initiatives across the region.
3. A common transition framework will help to align, deepen, and scale individual development eﬀorts. On the last day
of the Gathering, the Network Steering Committee presented a draft framework for accelerating the economic transition
of Central Appalachia.The framework is a synthesis of three years of learning and analysis by Network members, and
identiﬁes the strategies, promising sectors, and partnerships that we believe will advance Appalachia’s transition. Network
members agreed to share, build upon, and ultimately utilize this framework as a guide to create a more coordinated,
scalable, and impactful body of development work in the region.
4. Networks are eﬀective vehicles for change, and they need some structure and a sustainable source of funding to
maintain momentum. Since 2010, we have tested the vision of a low cost, member driven Network of Appalachian
focused grantmakers. To date, we have watched our membership quadruple in size and interest in Network activities
continue to rise.To maintain the momentum of the Network, members agreed on a set of internal policies and proce
dures and a membership dues structure that will help sustain and ground our future work.
This year’s Gathering elevated the Network to a new level of functioning, increased our partnerships, fostered innovation across
our development eﬀorts, and brought us one step closer to making our vision for Appalachia’s economic transition a reality.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS2
Appalachia Funders Network
The Appalachia Funders Network is a group of over 70 national, regional, and local grantmakers who envision an Ap
palachian economy that provides opportunity for all while sustaining the environmental and cultural assets of our region.
Central Appalachia is in a state of economic transition. We see the region moving from an economic base of outside own
ership to a more locally based economy driven by entrepreneurial opportunities in promising sectors such as clean en
ergy, local food production, and health care. As funders, we are committed to working together as a Network to leverage
our combined resources and develop shared strategies for accelerating the economic transition of the region while ad
dressing our most pressing economic, political, and environmental issues.
The Network’s Purpose & Goals
The Network works to organize grantmakers, engage partners across
sectors, and develop shared strategies to accelerate Appalachia’s eco
nomic transition. Our vision and plan of action for our collective work
is outlined in the Network’s 3 year Road Map, developed by our mem
bers at the 2011 Annual Gathering. Our work is organized around the
following four goals:
▪ Build trust and relationships between grantmakers who share sim
ilar interest and priorities
▪ Develop a common analysis, shared vision, and collectively de
ﬁned investment targets for accelerating the region’s economic
▪ Foster cross sector collaboration between nonproﬁts, businesses,
local, state, and federal governments to leverage additional in
vestments for the region
▪ Create a beginning structure for the Network that helps to focus
the collective energy of grantmakers
Since forming in 2010, the Appalachia Funders Network has hosted four annual Gatherings.These annual meetings are
important opportunities for members to come together to build trust and relationships, expand their connections, en
gage in deep learning and analysis, and develop a focused course of action for the Network’s activities. See Appendix A
for a complete list of our past Gathering themes and outcomes.
This paper shares our learning and analysis from the 2013 Gathering, as well as the strategies we identiﬁed to align our
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS4
“The Appalachia Funders
Network has been great at fig-
uring out what it is that we
can do together that we can’t
do by ourselves. Over the
next several years, we are
going to see more accom-
plished because of the work
of our partnerships.”
-- Earl Gohl, Federal
Co-Chair of the ARC
Partnership Session: “A Capital Idea: Creating
Funding Partnerships for Rural Appalachia”
Co hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Cleveland, and Richmond, & the Appalachia Funders Network
In advance of the Network Gathering, we held a partnership session
with bankers, foundations, Community Development Financial Insti
tutions (CDFIs), and economic development practitioners to think
strategically about how to expand and better align the range of capi
tal available to businesses in Central Appalachia.Together, we identi
ﬁed the following strategies:
1. Provide loans to small scale and start up businesses.
Participants identiﬁed the need for loans tailored to the needs of
small and early stage businesses, with longer term ﬂexible capi
tal and reasonable interest rates.Taking risks with small loans
can yield big results, as exempliﬁed by Mountain BizWorks’
$50,000 loan to FLS Energy, a solar company which has grown
from 10 to 75 employees in 6 years.
2. Develop lending partnerships between banks, credit
unions, CDFIs, and foundations. Lending partnerships
across sectors can help expand small businesses and develop
community infrastructure. For example, a bank could partner
with CDFIs to meet their obligations under the Community Rein
vestment Act, while providing program and operating support,
referrals, and capital to development projects. Foundations can
be lending partners by making program related investments
(PRIs).The ﬁrst step to forming lending partnerships is to be
knowledgeable about and build relationships with lenders.
3. Channel private equity into
the region. Private equity from
venture capital funds is an under
utilized resource in Appalachia and,
if captured, could attract additional
capital to the region. Community
foundations can use their relation
ships with high net worth donors
to build private equity pools for
investment in emerging entrepre
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 5
“Without collaborations all
through the years, I don’t
think we would have had
nearly the success we’ve had.”
-- Jane Hatley,
Self-Help Credit Union
▪ Wealth Creation and Rural Livelihoods Community of Practice: social
networking site for practitioners and funders
▪ Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation report, “Community Develop
ment Financial Institutions: A Study on Growth and Sustainability.”
▪ The Appalachian Regional Commission’s report, “Access to Capital
and Credit in Appalachia and the Impact of the Financial Crisis and
Recession on Commercial Lending and Finance in the Region.”
David Wilhelm, Founder ofWoodlandVenture Management, a leading source of venture capital for Central Appalachia.
He is a former political campaign manager and oversaw the 1992 U.S. Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton
David Wilhelm challenged us to build Appalachia’s economy with an “explosion” of local ownership. He argued that local
ownership creates a “virtuous economic cycle,” where local wealth leads to local community investment, continuously
generating sustainable economies.
He suggested that entrepreneurs and investors who live in the region have an
opportunity to drive a new economic model, and help create a culture of entre
preneurship that builds local ownership of wealth in Central Appalachia.
To seize this opportunity for a more sustainable and equitable economy, Wil
helm recommended the following strategies: (1) capitalize on the region’s local
assets and invest in promising sectors such as local food systems and renewable
energy, (2) build an entrepreneurial ecosystem of supportive policies, ﬁnancing,
markets, and mentors, (3) attract more investments and partnerships by high
lighting successful business models in promising sectors, (4) build pride in entre
preneurial activities, encouraging young leaders to develop entrepreneurial skills
and celebrating the region’s successful entrepreneurs, (5) link local workforce
development to promising business sectors, and (6) increase access to capital with more lending from community foun
dations, local banks, and regionally directed venture capital funds.
Wihelm closed by sharing advice from National Hockey League player Wayne Gretzky, who said, “What makes me diﬀer
ent is I don’t go where the puck was. I don’t even go where the puck is. I go to where the puck is going to be.” The “puck,”
according to Wilhelm, is in promising sectors like food systems and renewable energy that build on existing assets and
oﬀer local ownership opportunities for Appalachian communities. Click here to watch audio clips of his address.
Earl F. Gohl, Federal Co Chair, Appalachian Regional Commission
Earl Gohl noted President Obama’s inclusion of Appalachia in his 2013 Inaugural
Address, where he said, “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from
the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia…know they are cared for and
cherished and always safe from harm.” Gohl referred to the region’s dedicated
group of supporters as an “Appalachian army” committed to ensuring that all of
our communities have secure livelihoods. Gohl challenged us to use our passion
for the region to create partnerships that strengthen our individual work to build
a brighter future for Appalachia.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS6
Opening and Welcome
Opening remarks from Elizabeth Brazas, President of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Bobby
Lewis, the WV State Director for USDA Rural Development, and Sandra Mikush, Deputy Director of the Mary Reynolds
Babcock Foundation, framed our time together as an opportunity to break down the silos between and among grantmak
ers, government agencies, and practitioners in the room.
Each of these speakers encouraged us to share our individual expertise and engage in open and honest dialogue about
what is and is not working in the region. Authentic relationships can lead to innovative approaches, regional partnerships,
and strategic investments that improve local economies and accelerate Appalachia’s transition.
Site Visits: Learning from What Works
Learning & Analysis
The Network has a dedicated learning agenda around ways to grow small businesses and accelerate the development of
promising sectors such as energy, food systems, and healthcare. During this year’s Gathering, we dedicated a full day to
site visits focused on each of the above topics and created space for strategic conversations and reﬂection between
grantmakers, local and regional development practitioners, and leading thinkers from across Central Appalachia.
Our host city, Asheville, is known for having supportive policies, public and private investments, and community based
infrastructure that have helped foster an entrepreneurial economy and a strong culture of sustainability. Each site visit,
however, was grounded in the recognition that the social, political, and economic context vary widely across Central Ap
palachian communities; site visit participants brought diverse perspectives to compare and contrast examples from
Asheville to the reality of more rural and isolated communities.
During each site visit, participants toured facilities, heard success stories from local businesses and entrepreneurs, ex
plored innovative ideas, shared lessons learned, and worked to identify replicable strategies that could be implemented
across the region. At the end of the day, we came together as a large group to share lessons and ideas across site visits.
The next section summarizes each site visit and highlights key lessons and strategies.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 7
Site visit participants identified the following key
ingredients to creating a thriving local food system:
1. Build a robust ecosystem to support food and farm en
trepreneurs with mentors, business training, on farm
technical assistance, and shared infrastructure.
▪ Encourage partnerships between state extension oﬃces,
USDA, ARC, economic development organizations, CDFIs, non
proﬁts, RC&D, and community colleges to collaborate, share
expertise, and leverage resources to support farm and food en
▪ Provide wrap around support for farm and food related busi
nesses that include a combination of capital, business training,
and technical assistance.
▪ Support agriculture cooperatives or other collective business
strategies that provide broader market access for those farmers
who want to increase sales, but are not interested in marketing
▪ Develop community infrastructure such as mixed use incuba
tors and commercial kitchens that allow small businesses to
share equipment and lower costs.
2. Increase demand for local food by educating consumers & institutional decision makers.
▪ Develop buy local campaigns and local food guides that connect consumers to farmers, grocers, markets, and
restaurants who use locally grown products. Click here to view ASAP’s Local Food Guide.
▪ Help groups of producers create local branding and marketing strategies.
▪ Encourage farmers markets to take EBT and WIC payments to help low income consumers purchase local foods.
▪ Educate the leaders of local anchor institutions (i.e. public schools, hospitals, and colleges) about the beneﬁts of
purchasing locally sourced food products.
3. Advocate for state and local policies that help grow the local food sector.
▪ Work with public health oﬃcials and land use oﬃcials to support urban agriculture programs, farmer’s market
space, and mobile food trucks, which increase food entrepreneurship and access to local foods.
▪ Support the development of local food policy groups and encourage public oﬃcials to pursue supportive local
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS8
Food Systems Site Visit Summary
Speakers: Charlie Jackson, ASAP; Earl
Gohl, Appalachian Regional Commission;
Smithson Mills, Smithson Mills, Inc.; Joel
Mowery, Smoking J’s Fiery Foods; Mary Lou
Surgi, Blue Ridge Food Ventures
Overview: Participants toured Smoking J’s
Fiery Foods to see how an entrepreneurial
ecosystem fosters local food businesses.
Joel has utilized a diverse set of resources
from Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture
Project and Blue Ridge Food Ventures (a
commercial kitchen and food business incu
bator, also featured on the tour) to help his
farm business grow and thrive.
Launch of the ARC FoodwaysTour
During the food systems site visit, theARC launched the FoodwaysTour, where Federal Co Chair Earl Gohl will visit all
13Appalachian states to highlight the region’s robust local foods movement.While on tour, Gohl plans to sit down with
local food entrepreneurs and supporters to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and barriers to growing the sector.
At conclusion, theARC will identify ways to collaborate with Federal agencies, grantmakers, and practitioners to
strengthen local food systems acrossAppalachia.
Click here to view press from this event.
Site visit participants identified the following
strategies to support and grow the renewable
energy / energy efficiency sector:
1. Encourage supportive policies, regulations, and tax
incentives that drive demand for renewable energy
products and services.
▪ Influence the replication of effective clean energy
policies such as the NC Renewable Energy Portfolio
Standard, NC Renewable Energy Tax Credits, NC
Property Assessed Clean Energy, and the Renewable
▪ Advocate and support energy eﬃciency programs (e.g.
on bill ﬁnancing for energy eﬃciency retroﬁts) that ap
peal to the self interest of utilities, their customers, and
▪ Commission an energy job study that compiles data on the
potential for new energy related jobs inAppalachia. Use
this study to educate policymakers on these opportunities.
▪ Provide credibility to clean energy initiatives by publiciz
ing their successes with government representatives,
policymakers, board members, and inﬂuential partners.
▪ Depoliticize clean energy and frame this sector as a
value to local governments in terms of job creation, cost
savings, and beneﬁts to their constituents.
2. Develop technical professionals across the renewable
▪ Develop a larger pool of skilled professionals (from energy auditors, to contractors, to home energy raters, to
retailers and product distributors) to meet increased demand for renewable energy services. One idea is to work
with existing workforce training programs and community colleges to train tech professionals in this sector.
3. Educate consumers and institutional stakeholders.
▪ Develop a buyer’s guide to connect consumers to products and services related to energy eﬃciency (solar hot
water heaters, solar panels, water turbines, energy eﬃciency audits, etc.)This guide could facilitate connec
tions to both consumers and service providers.
▪ Publicize success stories where energy costs have been reduced for governments, businesses, and residential
4. Build state and regional partnerships that support
renewable energy innovation and industry develop
▪ Facilitate discussions between energy utility compa
nies, state and federal agencies, research universities,
and community leaders about strategies to reduce
current energy costs and advance innovation.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 9
Energy Site Visit Summary
Speakers: Justin Maxson, MACED; Patrick
Harper & Justin Hembree, Land of Sky Re
gional Council; Joanna Baker & Dale Freuden
berger, FLS Energy; Barry Edwards, Catawba
County Ecocomplex; Rick Larson, Natural
Capital Investment Fund;Torin Kexel, Green
Opportunities; Kerby Smithson, City of
Asheville; Matt Raker, Advantage West; Gary
Ball, Ball’s Machines
Overview: The Land of Sky Regional Council
facilitated tours of two local businesses:
FLS Energy, a renewable energy company, and
Blue Ridge Biofuels (BRBF), a biofuels manu
facturer.With strong leadership, supportive
policies, and cross sector partnerships, both
companies have showed impressive growth.
FLS Energy went from 3 employees in 2006 to
80 in 2012, and BRBF grew from “4 guys in a
basement” to annual production of 1.2 million
gallons of biodiesel.These examples catalyzed
discussions around opportunities for clean en
ergy entrepreneurs across Central Appalachia.
Site visit participants identified the following
strategies for growing entrepreneurial opportuni-
ties within the healthcare sector and improving
access to basic healthcare services for rural pop-
1. Build cross sector partnerships within the health
▪ Successful examples of cross sector partnerships in
clude: local farmers selling herbs and medicinal plants
to bio tech ﬁrms and researchers; local manufacturers
who are producing products in the ﬁeld of medical
technology; and, multiple health related businesses
(i.e. acupuncturist, massage therapist, yoga teachers)
working with a local hospitals to provide holistic treat
ment services to patients.
2. Support new models of healthcare delivery in rural
▪ Use telemedicine in rural schools to connect sick stu
dents to primary care doctors.Telemedicine helps de
crease student absences and caregiver time away from
work, while providing access to doctors who are in
short supply in rural communities.The Center for Rural
Health Innovation program, “My Health e Schools” is
an example of this model.
▪ Support small healthcare facilities in rural communi
ties. One example discussed is the Hot Springs Health
Program, which operates four medical centers strategi
cally placed throughout the county in order to provide
care to community members geographically isolated
from primary care facilities.
3. Grow the healthcare workforce in rural communities.
▪ Develop the capacity of people from within rural com
munities to work as healthcare professionals. See the
Rural Health Innovation Center Homegrown Healthcare
Program for an example of ways to educate rural youth
in health occupations.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS10
Health Site Visit Summary
Speakers: Dan Deaton, Ibiliti; Steve North,
Center for Rural Health Innovations; Greg
Cumberford, Bent Creek Institute; Robert
Ford, Hot Springs Health Program; Lourdes
Lorenz, Mission Hospital;Teri Morris, Cherokee
Tribal Hospital;Tonda Gosnell, Community Care
of Western North Carolina; Noel Watts, Market
ing Association for Rehabilitation Centers
Overview: Participants traveled to Bent Creek
Institute to explore the interconnections be
tween health and economic development, with
a focus on entrepreneurial opportunities. We
learned about proﬁtable opportunities in the
billion dollar botanical medicine industry and in
the trillion dollar medical devices industry. Par
ticipants also discussed entrepreneurial oppor
tunities and innovations in the healthcare
system, and challenges rural communities face
in accessing basic healthcare services.
Site visit participants identified the following
strategies to support and grow entrepreneurship:
1. Build collaborative partnerships between business
▪ Encourage small business supporters to collaborate on
a suite of services to entrepreneurs. An example of this
strategy is Western North Carolina’s SparkTank, a
group of 17 small business service providers who share
expertise and collaborate to better serve entrepre
2. Encourage supportive policies that help small busi
nesses grow and thrive.
▪ Advocate against federal/state budget cuts that de
crease investment and support for critical small busi
ness training and support.
3. Grow the leadership capacity and connectivity of
local business owners.
▪ Ensure that business leaders from within Appalachia
have the support and connections to capture larger
businesses development opportunities and advocate
for the collective needs of local entrepreneurs.
4. Help retiring entrepreneurs transfer ownership
of their business to dedicated employees or
▪ Develop processes and legal expertise to sup
port local business buy outs and worker owner
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 11
Entrepreneurship Site Visit
Speakers: Duane Adams, ABTech; Dan & Jael
Rattigan, French Broad Chocolates; Cortina
Caldwell, Visit & Venture; Pam Lewis, Chamber
of Commerce; Karen Caruso, MindYour Busi
ness; Jane Hatley, Self Help Credit Union;
Sharon Oxendine & Shaw Canale, Mountain
BizWorks; Annice Brown, Small Business and
Technology Development Center
Overview: Participants in the entrepreneur
ship site visit road the LaZoom tour bus
around downtown Asheville and the River Arts
District to learn about the transformation of
Asheville–from a downtown littered with
abandoned buildings in the 1980s to a thriving
entrepreneurial economy. Mountain BizWorks,
ABTech Community College, and the Asheville
Chamber of Commerce shared stories of col
laborative partnerships to assist local busi
Co opetition is a business strategy where
competitors work together to increase market
access, improve local infrastructure, and maxi
mize individual proﬁts.
Consider the example of the WNC Cheese
Trail. While cheesemakers still compete with
each other, they work together to bring atten
tion to the sector, expanded market access for
everyone, and seek additional resources to
support their collective eﬀorts.
Crosscutting Strategies for Appalachian
After a full day of site visits, participants came together as a large group to reﬂect, share lessons, and discuss crosscutting
themes. Below are the results of that strategic conversation
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS12
The Network’s Framework for Appalachian
Transition: A Working Framework
Over the past three years, Network members have worked to develop a common analysis and set of strategies for ad
vancing the economic transition of Central Appalachia.This body of knowledge was brought together into the below
framework to help focus the Network’s future eﬀorts. During the ﬁnal day of the Gathering, Network members discussed,
revised, and approved the document as a working framework for accelerating the economic transition.
Although this framework is designed as a tool to guide the Network’s learning, analysis, and strategy development, it will
continue to be adapted as we learn, take action, and reﬂect on our work.
Click here to download this framework
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 13
Moving our Collective Work Forward
Strengthening the Network’s Working Groups
One of the ways we maintain the momentum of the Network between our annual Gatherings is through the eﬀorts of our
working groups.This year, we launched two new working groups that are focused on health and community foundations.
We also explored ways to make our new and current working groups more eﬀective. One idea is to collaborate with other
networks to share expertise and target our learning and analysis on speciﬁc topics.The plans developed by members of
each working group are summarized below.
▪ Food System Working Group. Explore new learning topics in food security, the food economy, cooperative for
mation, succession planning, and local ownership.
▪ Startup Appalachia Committee. Continue to work to develop a model of co funding that has deep and lasting
impacts in the region.
▪ Health Working Group. Focus on strategies to grow the healthcare sector through expansion of rural based
health services, integrative approaches to healthcare, and product development opportunities.
▪ Community Foundations Working Group. Develop strategies to increase the capacity of smaller community
foundations, with a focus on the transfer of wealth out of the region and strategies to build investment capital.
Strengthening the Network’s Organizational Structure
One of our major goals is to establish enough structure–
but not too much–for the Network to be effective. To
support this process, Network members agreed on a set
of internal policies and procedures and a membership
Click here to view the Network’s policies and procedures
and new membership dues structure.
If you are interested in participating in one of the Network
Working Groups or in becoming an oﬃcial member of the
Network, please contact us at
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS14
Building Blocks of a Successful Network:
▪ Trust and relationships
▪ Shared analysis, vision, interest, and identity
▪ Shared direction, goals, measurement, & work
▪ Strong network management
▪ Clear beneﬁts for local people
▪ Shared power and control
▪ Enough structure, but not too much
▪ Mutual accountability
▪ Clear beneﬁts for member organizations
This year’s Gathering resulted in stronger ties and deeper shared
analysis among a set of public, private, and nonproﬁt actors who
are currently moving the economic transition of Central Ap
palachia.We captured lessons from some of the most innovative
economic development eﬀorts in the region and engaged in honest
cross sector dialogue around the strategies that will strengthen our
economy. Our task now is to water the seeds of trust, common
analysis, and collective strategies to grow collaborative work that
will blossom into large scale change across the region. Moving for
ward, the Network will build on this fertile ground to:
1. Promote cross sector collaborations that leverage re
sources, share expertise, and coordinate develop
ment strategies across the region. Network members
are ready to build on the trust and relationships we have culti
vated in order to form working partnerships that lead to
greater economic impact across the region.
2. Showcase promising development strategies and
share successful models with inﬂuential partners, poli
cymakers, and stakeholders. We want to use the power of
the Network to help lift up, learn from, and replicate success
ful development eﬀorts from all across the region.
3. Implement a common transition framework to help guide and align our eﬀorts. The transition frame
work adopted at this year’s Gathering will be used to guide the work of the Network and focus our future learning
eﬀorts. We will also work with Network members to understand how we can use the framework to deepen and align
the individual eﬀorts of regional grantmakers.
4. Continue to strengthen the Network’s internal structure to sustain our learning, analysis, and collab
orative eﬀorts over the long term. Over the next year, members agreed to advance new working groups on
health and community foundations, formalize a set of policies and procedures, and launch a membership campaign
that will help ground and sustain the collective work of the network going forward.
In closing, we left the Gathering with a commitment to use the Network as a vehicle to foster collaboration, leverage
resources, and advance shared development strategies that make a diﬀerence in the region. We are excited by the
growth and movement of the Network and look forward to the work ahead.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 15
A Brief History of Network Gatherings
Each of our Gatherings builds on the energy and excitement of the previous year’s work and identiﬁes actionable strate
gies to deepen and expand the scale of our work.
2010: Appalachia inTransition, Abingdon,Virginia
▪ Developed an analysis of the forces that have shaped Appalachia
▪ Recognized that the region is in another economic transition
▪ Discussed how we can help move the region towards a more sustainable and equitable economy
▪ Decided to form and develop the Appalachia Funders Network
2011: Strategies for Collaboration, Charleston, WestVirginia
▪ Developed analyses of opportunities and challenges in the food, energy, and health sectors
▪ Identiﬁed barriers to collaboration among grantmakers interested in the economic transition
▪ Developed concrete strategies to increase collaboration among grantmakers across Central Appalachia
2012: Accelerating the EconomicTransition of Central Appalachia, Berea, Kentucky
▪ Explored the entrepreneurial supports and community capacity needed to advance the region’s economy
▪ Created a list of shared priorities for strengthening entrepreneurship and community capacity
▪ Developed concrete ways that individual grantmakers and the Network can move these priorities
▪ Celebrated our Appalachian heritage, culture, and arts
2013: Harnessing the Power of the Network to Accelerate Appalachia’sTransition, Asheville, NC
▪ Deﬁned shared strategies to support entrepreneurship and scale the promising sectors of food, energy, and health
▪ Clariﬁed our shared vision for Appalachia’s economic transition and strengthened the Network’s organizational
structure to achieve this vision
▪ Gained a full appreciation of Appalachia’s rich past, present, and emerging cultures
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS16
Participating Funders, Practitioners,
Accelerating Appalachia: Sara Day Evans
Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs: Grace Fricks+
ACEnet: Angie Maiden, Leslie Schaller
AdvantageWest: Matt Raker
Appalachian Community Fund: Amelia Kirby, Margo
Miller, Lorelai Scarbro
Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy: Steve Owen
Appalachian Regional Commission: Raymond Daﬀner,
Earl Gohl, Guy Land
Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative: Michelle
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project: Charlie
Appalachian Sustainable Development: KathlynTerry
Appalshop: Mimi Pickering
Ball’s Machine/Solarnomics: Gary Ball
BB&T:Victor Atkinson, Ernie Dehnert, Marlo Long*+,
Becky Anderson Consulting: Becky Anderson
Bent Creek Institute, Inc: Greg Cumberford
blue moon fund: KristinTracz
Blue Ridge BioFuels: Woodrow Eaton, Melita Kyriakou
Blue Ridge FoodVentures: Mary Lou Surgi
Brushy Fork Institute: Donna Morgan
WestVirginia Center for Rural Health: John Reger II+
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association: Karen McSwain
Catawba County Department of Utilities & Engineering:
Center for Economic Options: Pam Curry
Center for Rural Health Innovation: Steve North
Center for Rural Strategies: Dee Davis
Cherokee Preservation Foundation: Annette Saunooke
Clapsaddle, Charlie Myers*
City of Asheville: Kerby Smithson
Clark Regional Foundation: Jen Algire
Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation: Mary Hunt*
Common Wealth Revolving Loan Fund: Roy Messing
Community Bank &Trust: Michelle Gilreath
Community Care of WNC:Tonda Gosnell
Community Farm Alliance: Martin Richards
Community Works Carolina: Deborah McKetty
FAHE: Eric Haralson
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: John Meeks
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta:Todd Greene,+ Emily
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland: Bonnie Blankenship,
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond: Jen Giovannitti*+
FLS Energy: Michael Shore
Foundation for a Healthy KY: Susan Zepeda
Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky: Gerry Roll, Robin
Foundation for Appalachian Ohio: Cara Dingus Brook
French Broad Chocolate Lounge: Dan & Jael Rattigan
Golden LEAF Foundation: Dan Gerlach
Handmade in America: Gwynne Rukenbrod
Heifer USA: Jeﬀrey Scott
Highlander Research and Education Center: Elandria
HopewellVentures: David Wilhelm+
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 17
Hot Springs Health Program: Jerry Plemmons
ibiliti: Daniel Deaton
Judy Futch Consulting, Inc: Judy Futch
Kemper Strategy, Inc: David Kemper
Land of Sky CleanVehicles Coalition: Bill Eaker
Land of Sky Regional Council: Erica Anderson, Patrick
MACED: Justin Maxson+, Paul Wright
Marketing Association for Rehabilitation Centers: Noel
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation: David Jackson, San
dra Mikush, AshleyVogel
MAY Coalition: William Weeks
Mission Foundation: John Locke
Mission Hospital: Lourdes Lorenz
Mountain BizWorks: Shaw Canale+, Sharon Oxendine
National Development Council: PatThomson+
Natural Capital Investment Fund: Rick Larson+
NC Commerce: Kristy Carter
NC Cooperative Extension: Robert Hawk
New Sprout Organic Farms, LLC: Michael Porterﬁeld
OhioValley Environmental Coalition: Janet Keating
One Foundation: Barbara Wyckoﬀ
Parkersburg Area Community Foundation: Jane Winters
People Incorporated Financial Services: Deborah Wagner,
Ernie Maddy, Becky Nave
PowellValley National Bank: Charlie Allen
Robert Donnan Consulting: Robert Donnan
RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship: Deborah
Rural Action: Michelle Decker
Save the Children: Reid Livingston,
Self Help Credit Union: Jane Hatley+
Sequoyah Fund: Nell Leatherwood
Smoking J's Fiery Foods: Joel Mowery
Sugar Bush Foundation: HylieVoss,
Mary Anne Flourney
SunTrust Bank: Angela Conner, Matthew Giddens
Suntrust Bank: Autrice Long,
SustainFloyd: Mike Burton
TennesseeValley Authority: Phillip McMullen
The Alleghany Foundation: Mary Fant Donnan, Dr. Leo
The Center for Rural Health Development, Inc: Robert
Dearing, Sharon Lansdale
The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina:
Philip Belcher, Elizabeth Brazas,Tim Richards*
The Ford Foundation: Wayne Fawbush
The Greater KanawhaValley Foundation: Becky
Ceperley+, Stephanie Hyre, Sheri Ryder
TN Economic and Community Development: Wisty
U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Alan
US Small Business Administration: Mike Arriola
USDA, Rural Development: Pam Hysong, Bobby Lewis,
Tony Logan,Timothy McNeilly, Charles Morris, Lisa
Sharp, Joseph Woody
Venture Asheville: Pam Lewis
Vision Shared: Rebecca Randolph
Visit &Venture: Cortina Caldwell
Waste Reduction Partners:Terry Albrecht
Wells Fargo: Rod Banks
WesBanco Bank, Inc: Joe Flynn
WestVirginia Community Development Hub: Kent
WV Food & Farm Coalition: Savanna Lyons,
Yancey County Center Extension:Tres Magner
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS18
*2013 Gathering PlanningTeam
+ Speaker at the Federal Reserve Partnership Meeting
Appalachian Carbon Partnership
The Network is proud to have partnered with MACED to oﬀset the Gathering’s carbon footprint
and support Appalachian family forests. In total, participants’ donations oﬀset 17.26 metric tons
of carbon dioxide.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 19
Appalachian Cultural Celebration & Networking Reception
At each Gathering, we provide a creative space for grantmakers and practitioners to connect and celebrate Appalachia’s
unique cultural heritage.This year, we celebrated Appalachia’s multicultural diversity with perspectives from OldTime,
Cherokee, Latino, and African American experiences in the region.
We would like to oﬀer a special thank you to our guest speaker:
Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Executive Director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.
Click here to download her speech.
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS20
About the Appalachia Funders Network
The Appalachia Funders Network is a group of 70 public and private grantmakers 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,Ten
nessee,Virginia, WestVirginia, and North Carolina. We believe that the current convergence of economic innovation, fed
eral policy initiatives, expanded regional capacity, and regional and national funder interest oﬀers unprecedented
▪ 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,
▪ Leverage existing resources to increase outside investment in Appalachia's economic recovery.
Steering Committee: Sandra Mikush, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation; Becky Ceperley, Greater KanawhaValley
Foundation; Ray Daﬀner, Appalachian Regional Commission; Wayne Fawbush, Ford Foundation; Mary Hunt, Claude Wor
thington Benedum Foundation; Margo Miller, Appalachian Community Fund; KristinTracz, blue moon fund; Gerry Roll,
Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky; Lisa Sharp, USDA Rural Development WestVirginia
APPALACHIA FUNDERS NETWORK – 2013 GATHERING PROCEEDINGS 21
For more information about the Network visit:
www.appalachiafunders.org or contact us at:
Appalachia Funders Network Coordinator
Rural Support Partners
Thomas Watson, Executive Director
1456 Patton Ave., Suite C
Asheville, NC 28806
This paper was developed and written by Rural
Support Partners with assistance and funding from
the members of the Appalachia Funders Network.