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About Us

How IA Works

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Invest Appalachia unlocks inclusive economic opportunities and drives growth in key wealth-building sectors throughout the region. Fostering strategic partnerships and pooling resources with like-minded organizations are central to our work.

Through collaboration, we can ensure that every community in Central Appalachia has the necessary investment and support to thrive both now and in the future.

We built an innovative investment model in response to our region’s unique needs.

Invest Appalachia uses a blended capital model to meet communities where they are, providing flexible and customized investment that can drive equitable outcomes and systemic change for our region’s economy. Rather than thinking of investment as a set of individual transactions, using blended capital allows us to take a systems approach.

Through research and collaborative design, we identified that repayable investment capital (e.g. loans) must be blended with philanthropic dollars (credit enhancements, TA, and other flexible risk-absorbing funding) in order to meaningfully reach underserved communities and unlock investment-worthy projects where traditional capital doesn’t flow. IA’s blended capital, when aligned with community investment partners, can help create truly transformative investments for communities in Appalachia. The main pieces of our current blended capital approach are:

Investment Capital

The Invest Appalachia Fund, an affiliated LLC, attracts capital from a variety of regional and national impact investors (including foundations, banks, corporations, and family offices) and provides flexible financing (loans) to community-oriented projects and businesses. Learn more about the IA Fund, and what it offers, here.

Catalytic (Philanthropic) Capital

Philanthropic grant funds can provide a mix of flexible “Catalytic Capital" tools to accelerate community projects and leverage repayable investment. Uses include credit enhancements (e.g. loan guarantees), conditional repayment grants (e.g. bridge financing or flexible working capital), technical assistance, and more. Catalytic Capital can come from Invest Appalachia, or from philanthropic partners, and helps investment-worthy projects become investment-ready.

Intermediary Capital

Appalachia has a strong ecosystem of existing capital providers, including community lenders like CDFIs, who share our goals. Invest Appalachia sources, underwrites, and invests in projects alongside these trusted intermediary partners. IA’s blended capital helps to leverage repayable investment from these other sources into high-impact projects or businesses that likely would not receive it otherwise.

Social Capital

Appalachia has a robust community investment ecosystem, consisting of community lenders, foundations, public agencies, and community development organizations. Coordinating our work across key actors and existing networks allows investment capital to align with community priorities and shared analysis of key sectors, emerging industries, and opportunities for equity and resilience. (learn more about Appalachia’s ecosystem)

Want to learn more about our programs, partners, and investment products?

Our investments create ripple effects.

Our strategy

Invest Appalachia’s goal is to drive inclusive prosperity. In practice, this means:

  • Focusing on pinch points and catalytic deals that can accelerate a sector or industry
  • Investing in clusters of enterprises or projects that collectively strengthen a sector or industry
  • Connecting under-served geographies to revenue-generating market opportunities
  • Making responsive commitments to counter the impacts of chronic underinvestment in local communities
  • Building community infrastructure, place-based capacity, and “investability” along the way

Our Priorities

Invest Appalachia focuses on opportunities where we have found consensus from regional stakeholders that investments will drive transformational economic diversification, local ownership, and community wealth-building. We will consider any investment that aligns with our goals and values.

Clean Energy

Renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, clean manufacturing, climate adaptation, mine land reclamation/redevelopment, workforce development, community ownership

Community Health

Workforce and affordable housing, community health facilities, health care provider access, addiction treatment & recovery, mental health, built environment, childcare and early childhood education

Creative Placemaking

Downtown redevelopment, adaptive reuse of historic and industrial buildings, community-oriented real estate development, asset-based tourism, outdoor recreation, main street business development, community amenities, arts and culture enterprises

Food & Agriculture

Family farms & livelihoods, local food retail, health food access, aggregation/distribution infrastructure, value-added processing, craft food & beverage, agroforestry & forest farming, working lands conservation

We depend on a collective brain trust for our success and innovation.

We are part of a region with significant economic needs that are constantly shifting, that’s why we regularly tap into some of the best and brightest minds to help us adapt our strategies and stay accountable to communities.

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Join us in building a prosperous tomorrow for Central Appalachia.

Become a Capital Partner

Invest Appalachia raises investment capital from a variety of sources. We focus on bringing new capital into the region, while aligning and leveraging existing investment from the region’s grant-makers, lenders, and impact investors. Potential investors include national foundations, impact motivated investors, high net worth individuals, corporate philanthropy, wealth managers, family offices, and federal funding programs.  Interested in being part of Invest Appalachia’s community-first investment approach?

Share a Project Idea

Are you a prospective borrower (business, non-profit organization, developer, or other kind of project sponsor)? Are you a lender or financial intermediary looking for co-investment, loan participations, or capital for re-lending? We want to hear about your ideas to build inclusive wealth in Central Appalachia.

Our Partners

Most of Invest Appalachia’s work is done in partnership. This includes co-investments and partnership around specific deals or projects. It also includes ecosystem development and capacity-building programs. And, big new ideas and bold solutions rely on collaboration to succeed. These are some of the partners that have been key to IA’s formation and work to date. 

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