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Our Work

Catalytic Capital Fund

Element FCU, BIPOC man standing in front of his business.
We can level the playing field for residents and communities experiencing systemic barriers to prosperity. Through the Catalytic Capital Fund, Invest Appalachia offers flexible, grant-like capital that plugs common gaps between community development grantmaking, federal funding, and community lending.

Our catalytic capital investments reduce risk for promising high-impact projects, build an inclusive and equitable pipeline of investment-ready projects, and unlock repayable investment from other funding sources.

Catalytic Capital Funnel

Catalytic Capital Fund investments sometimes look like…

  • Technical assistance to prepare projects for investment
  • Recoverable grants and conditional repayment loans for non-extractive financing of low-wealth borrowers
  • Unsecured bridge loans to cover up-front costs of projects reimbursed by Tax Credits or Federal Grants
  • Loan guarantees and loan loss reserves to overcome collateral gaps in high-impact projects
  • Other credit enhancements that mitigate risk from deals and leverage repayable investment

To submit a project for consideration, use our project submission form.

Note that Catalytic Capital does not support direct grant requests for projects, programs, personnel, or operations—rather, a project must have clear potential for repayable investment that can be unlocked by Catalytic Capital.


To be considered, projects must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be located in or primarily serving the Central Appalachian Region (Appalachian counties of KY, NC, OH, TN, VA, WV).
  • Create positive social, environmental, and economic impacts for communities in the region (not financially or environmentally extractive).
  • Align with one of IA’s sectors of focus, or otherwise contribute to quality jobs, local ownership, and community wealth.
  • Be financially viable (demonstrate meaningful revenue and repayment potential). Requests for non-repayable grants will not be considered.


The Catalytic Capital Fund is managed by Invest Appalachia staff, with guidance and priorities set by the IA Community Advisory Council. All deployment decisions are approved by the IA Board of Directors. 

Project Spotlights

Invest Appalachia has committed millions of dollars through the Catalytic Capital Fund to projects in Central Appalachia. Read about just a few.

New Roots Community Farm

Recoverable Grant

New Roots Community Farm (NRCF) is an innovative agricultural community land trust and social enterprise based in Fayetteville, WV. Invest Appalachia provided NRCF with a recoverable grant to purchase three pieces of equipment to outfit their rural grocer operations. This grant has increased access to fresh, nutrient-dense, and culturally appropriate seasonal foods for customers in the New River Gorge area of WV. Specifically, NRCF provides services for low-income and food insecure residents through SNAP, SNAP Stretch, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupon redemption. This expansion of NRCF’s services will also support the growth of their own operations as a community-owned agricultural resource center who’s committed to providing living wage jobs within their cooperative model.

Western Women’s Business Center

Technical Assistance Grant

The Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC) provides one-on-one business coaching, workshops, and access to capital to women entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina. Through the Catalytic Capital Fund, Invest Appalachia provided WWBC with a technical assistance award to support pipeline development of women and minority-owned enterprises in Western NC. This includes WWBC events and programming and translation of key informational materials into Spanish to increase language access, providing expanded capacity to do more intentional engagement and pipeline development with women and minority entrepreneurs throughout the region.

Grahamtown Housing Initiative

Recoverable Grant

It is the mission of the Grahamtown Team to plan, support, educate, and execute opportunities to enrich the quality of life for the Grahamtown community in Rutherford County, North Carolina. IA’s recoverable grant to support a neighborhood revitalization effort is providing working capital for the healthy homes revitalization project, which provides capital to low-income homeowners to make critical repairs/upgrades to their properties. The grant will also allow the Grahamtown Team to acquire vacant or dilapidated properties to renovate and resale the individuals within the community.

Hazard, Kentucky. Rural Appalachia mountain houses nestled in the hillsides

Housing Development Alliance

Recoverable Grant

The Housing Development Alliance is a community housing development organization based in Hazard, KY. IA’s recoverable grant is providing HDA with flexible up-capital to buy land and develop properties to build homes for flood survivors. IA’s recoverable grant is projected to buy/develop 8 lots per year in new high elevation communities.

Just For Kids Advocacy Center

Recoverable Grant

The Just For Kids Child Advocacy Center is a safe, child-friendly facility where child protection, criminal justice, and child treatment professionals work together to investigate abuse in Raleigh and Fayette Counties, hold offenders accountable, and help children heal. In the darkest moments, the Just For Kids Child Advocacy Center creates a safe environment for children to tell their stories and begin their path to healing. IA’s short-term repayable grant is serving as a zero-interest unsecured bridge loan against reimbursement of the 30% federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This project contributes to the solar energy transition for local community service nonprofit that will serve as a notable public example of successful solar energy development and its cost savings benefits in the local community.

Black by God's owner walking down a sidewalk with a newspaper in hand.

Black By God

Technical Assistance

Black By God is a community-led news organization based in West Virginia and founded by Crystal Good that centers Black stories and provides a nuanced portrayal of the Black Experience in the Appalachian region. Invest Appalachia provided Black By God with a technical assistance grant to conduct a feasibility study and business plan for social enterprise development supporting Black-owned businesses.

Redbud Financial Alternatives

Loan Guarantee

Redbud Financial Alternatives is a local CDFI based in Hazard, Kentucky. After the 2022 floods in Eastern Kentucky IA’s catalytic capital acted as loan guarantee/loan loss reserve to support a $200,000 loan request from the IA Fund. This supported Redbud to use loan funds to provide small unsecured consumer loans ($500-$7,500) to individuals and small businesses impacted by the floods.

Hazard, Kentucky's downtown busy with cars and shops.

Explore Catalytic Capital Fund Projects

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