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Invest Appalachia deploys $900,000 in inaugural round of community-focused Catalytic Capital 

The $900,000 represents the first deployment of Catalytic Capital by Invest Appalachia, a Central Appalachian social investment platform, with projects focused on long-term flood recovery & climate resilience in Eastern Kentucky, BIPOC-led project development, and credit enhancements to leverage repayable investment into community development priorities.

Invest Appalachia (IA) allocated its first slate of flexible Catalytic Capital grant investments to catalyze economic development projects throughout Central Appalachia! Nine projects received a total of $901,050 in funding total through the organization’s Catalytic Capital Pool in this inaugural round of board-approved investments. IA is set to invest at least $2 million additional dollars through the Catalytic Capital Pool in 2023.

IA’s mission is to advance a vision of healthy, resilient, and equitable communities throughout Central Appalachia where every community has the investment they need to thrive. IA’s approach, including the Catalytic Capital pool, emphasizes community-driven strategies that work within the existing regional ecosystem to address barriers to inclusive and transformative investment.

This first round of Catalytic Capital investments prioritizes long-term flood recovery and climate resilience in Eatern Kentucky, allocating over half of the total 2022 awards to provide responsive and extremely flexible investments in new affordable housing, small business support, and consumer credit in flood-impacted communities. All of these awards are repayable, and over 80% of the total deployed is expected to be repaid and available to be redeployed as Catalytic Capital for other projects.

Other 2022 priorities, as defined by IA’s Community Advisory Council of grassroots stakeholders, include technical assistance to support BIPOC-led projects and social enterprises as well as credit enhancements to leverage repayable investment from the Invest Appalachia Fund and lending partners.

“As the region strives towards a just economic transition, Invest Appalachia is employing trust-based philanthropic practices, cutting edge financial tools, and community-aligned investment strategies to cultivate economic growth in the hills and hollers of Central Appalachia. We seek to build community wealth and local capacity with every transaction, as a way to build community power that advances equity, diversity, and resilience,” says Baylen Campbell, Director of Community Impact of Invest Appalachia.

Funds deployed through the Catalytic Capital Pool span a variety of financial products such as loan guarantees and loan loss reserves to de-risk promising projects seeking repayable investments, conditional repayment grants providing unsecured up-front capital for time-sensitive projects, technical assistance funds to advance equity-focused projects, and other ecosystem and predevelopment grants that build a more inclusive and investment-ready pipeline in historically underserved communities.

All of IA’s catalytic capital investments provide the region\’s vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs, social enterprises, nonprofits, and other community projects with the flexible, patient capital needed to leverage large-scale investment into our resilient and under-invested mountain region.


Catalytic community and economic growth in Central Appalachia is possible with support from our partners.

Initial funding partners supporting IA’s Catalytic Capital Pool include the Appalachian Regional Commission, Cassiopeia Foundation, Charles M. and Mary D. Grant Foundation, Hearst Foundation, Dogwood Health Trust, Catalytic Capital Consortium (funded by MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Omidyar Network), the ACT Now Coalition (funded by Economic Development Administration and Bloomberg Philanthropies), Educational Foundation of America, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

C3 Grantmaking is excited to help fund Invest Appalachia's strategy to attract and blend capital from different sources and incorporate input from diverse local partners to generate economic opportunity that would not otherwise be possible...We hope that the team's experience and outcomes help spur investment infrastructure growth, thereby leading to better outcomes in other communities as well.

IA’s catalytic capital and investment priorities are set by and accountable to the community.

IA’s Community Advisory Council (CAC), is a diverse, representative body of community and economic development practitioners from across the region who set catalytic capital priorities, shape impact measurement, and assist in developing IA’s investment pipeline. In 2023, the CAC will continue to convene to shape Invest AppalachIA’s funding priorities for deploying its catalytic capital in conjunction with investment dollars from the Invest Appalachia Fund and other investment partners, with the intention to catalyze inclusive economic development in the most underserved parts of Central Appalachia.


Economic opportunity is a key driver of overall health and wellbeing for communities and individuals. Our region needs access to critical community infrastructure in order to create more places where everyone can live, learn, earn, and thrive. That infrastructure includes things like revitalized downtowns that promote small business development or early childhood education centers that simultaneously invest in our workforce and our youngest residents to bolster our local economic ecosystems. Dogwood Health Trust is proud to partner with Invest Appalachia to provide new, catalytic capital for investment in community development projects led by local leaders, boosting their ability to attract further resources that will accelerate enduring economic prosperity for all of Western North Carolina's residents.

This $900,000+ deployment in initial investments through the Catalytic Capital Pool follows 6 years of collaborative stakeholder design and creates new community-controlled resources and permanent infrastructure for the region. IA serves the Appalachian counties of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio.


Quote from Andrew Crosson, CEO of Invest Appalachia

2022 Catalytic Capital Investments

Our Catalytic Capital Pool uses a mix of investment products that offer flexible, patient capital to offset risk for innovative community projects.Nine projects are receiving catalytic capital in 2022.

Mountain Association - Berea, KY

Conditional repayment grant for a loan loss reserve to support small business loans for flood-impacted businesses

Technical assistance grant to do a feasibility study and business plan for social enterprise development supporting Black-owned businesses Mountain Association Loan guarantee to help finance the renovation of a local grocery store in a rural food desert with high efficiency refrigeration system and a rooftop solar array (Project is currently pending)

Conditional repayment grant to support unsecured small business micro-loans to flood impacted small businesses


Technical assistance grant to support feasibility study for BIPOC-led development of a historic downtown property into boutique hotel or apartment complex

Conditional repayment grant to support housing development for flood impacted residents in Letcher County, KY and surrounding communities

Short-term repayable grant to one of West Virginia’s largest homeless shelters to serve as a zero-interest unsecured bridge loan to facilitate the installation of rooftop solar arrays, pending reimbursement of the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for rooftop installations. A partnership with the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund.

Conditional repayment grant to support housing development for flood impacted residents of E. Kentucky communities



Conditional repayment grant to support a loan loss reserve to support a forthcoming loan from the IA Fund, to provide small unsecured consumer loans for flood-impacted residents

Do you have an idea for a project?

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 re-lending capital? Submit a project to Invest Appalachia.

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