Opportunity Appalachia, a project of Appalachian Community Capital, is hosting a virtual investor convening on May 31 - June 1, 2023. Registration is open for investors, funders, project developers, business owners, elected officials, economic development professionals, community members, and others at www.OAConvening.org.
Opportunity Appalachia brings new investment to underserved Central Appalachian communities, creating new jobs and businesses that support sustainable growth. The 2023 Project Portfolio includes downtown development, manufacturing, IT, healthcare, education, food systems, clean energy, and heritage tourism and recreation. These high impact projects are expected to provide both robust social return as well as an attractive financial return.
Gayle Manchin, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission notes, “It’s imperative that we work together across Appalachia to transition and diversify the region’s economies. I commend Appalachian Community Capital for convening and building relationships between investors who share the common goal of putting plans to action in ways that are helping to usher in a new era of prosperity for an often-overlooked but resilient region.”
The Investor Convening will feature 33 Opportunity Appalachia projects seeking to develop relationships with investment partners. The 2023 Project Portfolio is seeking $187 million in financing and is anticipated to create 3,000 jobs - including jobs for individuals in addiction recovery, the long-term unemployed (such as former coal industry workers), minorities, and women. The intended audience for the convening includes banks, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), New Markets Tax Credit CDEs, Historic Tax Credit investors, Opportunity Funds (QOFs), crowdfunding platforms, federal and state grant makers, philanthropy, community and economic development leaders, business owners and developers, and elected officials from Appalachia.
“We’re proud of the work we’re doing with Opportunity Appalachia to breathe life back into these under-appreciated communities,” says Donna Gambrell, President and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital. “The benefits can be felt not only by the communities themselves but also by our investors – both via the social impact they are having and the financial returns generated.”
The Opportunity Appalachia Investor Convening will feature remarks from Tom Barkin, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and participation from the Richmond Fed’s Investment Connection program leaders. “Our Investment Connection program introduces public and private funders to project proposals from community-based organizations that benefit low- and moderate- income communities,” said Carrie Cook, the Richmond Fed’s Community Affairs Officer and Vice President of Community Development. “Aligning with the Investor Convening strengthens our shared goals.”
Adds Shannon Blevins, Vice Chancellor for Administration, Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives, UVA Wise, “The resources made available through Opportunity Appalachia, specifically in the form of technical assistance, fill a gap that many community projects truly need to advance their work. These resources have helped communities refine their project plans and prepare for the upcoming Investor Convening. UVA Wise and our Opportunity
Southwest Virginia partners are supported by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and are proud to be working together to assist in these important high impact projects”
Participating projects from Virginia include:
- Blue Mountain Expansion, Blue Mountain Therapy, Abingdon, VA
- Mountain Empire Community College Outdoor Amphitheater, Big Stone Gap, VA
- Whistle Pig Farmers Market & Country Store, Ewing, VA