Opportunity Appalachia to Bring Opportunity Zone Investment to Central Appalachian Communities

Appalachian Community Capital has announced receipt of a $1,000,000 technical assistance grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to help bring Opportunity Zone investment into Central Appalachian communities in Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, along with The WV Community Development Hub, is serving as the co-state lead for West Virginia in Opportunity Appalachia, a technical support initiative designed to strengthen investable transactions in target rural communities, attracting Opportunity Zone investors to back small businesses and real estate development, leading to more local jobs.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring more financial and technical resources to our region, to help Appalachia secure more investment in important industries such as manufacturing, IT, downtown development, healthcare, education, food systems, heritage tourism and recreation, ” remarked Appalachian Community Capital (ACC) President & CEO Donna Gambrell, whose organization will coordinate the Opportunity Appalachia effort. She added, “We expect to strengthen or help establish more than 20 businesses, which will lead to the creation of more than 700 new jobs, and generate private investments totaling $7.5 mm.”

Opportunity Appalachia is led by a six-member consortium comprised of regional and national organizations with expertise in financing and marketing that will support local projects to develop sophisticated investment packets geared toward prospective OZ investors. 

Collaborators and planning partners in West Virginia include

WV Community Development Hub, West Virginia Development Office, WV Municipal League, New River Gorge Development Authority, Advantage Valley, City of Huntington, City of Charleston, WV Forward, WV Brownfields Center, West Virginia University, U.S. Senators Manchin and Capito offices, Benedum Foundation.

More information on Opportunity Appalachia is available at appalachiancommunitycapitalcdfi.org/oa-program/. An informational webinar is planned for December 2019 and state outreach events in Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia, are currently scheduled to be held in January 2020. Additional details will be provided about upcoming information and outreach meetings, and how to participate soon.

ACC is a 20-member CDFI lending intermediary whose members and their affiliates manage over $1 billion in assets supporting economic development across Appalachia.

This Appalachian Regional Commission grant is made under the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative, which is an integrated, multi-agency effort to align and invest federal economic resources in communities and regions negatively impacted by changes in the coal economy.

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