Opportunity Appalachia



Opportunity Appalachia brings new investment to Central Appalachian Communities, creating new jobs and businesses that support sustainable growth.

We work with community real estate development projects that support economic restructuring and diversification in underinvested communities. Since 2020, we have supported 58 projects that seek to raise $471 M in financing and create 2,700 quality jobs. Our investment priorities include: downtown development, housing, manufacturing, IT, healthcare, education, food systems, clean energy, and heritage tourism and recreation — primarily in rural communities.

Our portfolio of high impact projects provides both robust social return as well as an attractive financial return. Social returns include anticipated creation of 2,700 quality jobs – including jobs for individuals in recovery, the long-term unemployed (such as former coal industry workers), and minorities and women. Increased investment in minority / women – Owned Business Enterprises, including minority developers and technical assistance providers, is also a program priority.

Opportunity Appalachia engages a diverse range of investors that prioritize high impact projects in underinvested areas, including: Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds, New Markets Tax Credit CDEs, Historic Tax Credit investors, banks, CDFIs, angel investors, crowd funding platforms, and public funders.

Financial supporters of Opportunity Appalachia include the Appalachian Regional Commission, US Treasury CDFI Fund, Truist, Dogwood Health Trust, The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, US Bank, and M&T Bank.


Projects are selected through a robust outreach process that includes engagement with state and local economic development agencies, non-profit community-based organizations, private business owners and developers, CDFIs, banks, investment partners, and educational institutions. Our target geography includes Appalachian communities in KY, NC, OH, TN, VA, and WV, per the map below.

Target geography

Central Appalachia – Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

For selected projects, a range of technical assistance is provided, including:

  • development of investment prospectus, preparation of pro forma financial projections, structuring of project financing,
  • market research, demand assessment,
  • architectural and engineering,
  • business plan preparation, operations planning,
  • identification of project developers
  • investor outreach

Our program does not hire staff to provide these services, but instead contracts with both in-region and national organizations for these services. Technical support averages $40,000 – $75,000 per project.

Once investment prospectuses are completed, Opportunity Appalachia and our Technical Assistance providers help local projects to outreach to investors, which include Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds, New Markets Tax Credit CDEs, Historic Tax Credit investors, banks, CDFIs, angel investors, crowd funding platforms, and public funders. As part of the program, selected projects will have the opportunity to pitch in front of investors at a highly visible Investor Convening, which highlights our portfolio of high impact projects in Central Appalachia that provide both robust social and sufficient financial return.

After the Investor Convening, Opportunity Appalachia continues to provide project sponsors critical opportunities to stay connected with the entire cohort of selected projects and the OA Program Team. When project sponsors share important lessons and successes, they encourage perseverance among all the project sponsors in the face of inevitable challenges in development finance. The ongoing support from the Program Team helps projects to problem-solve and to get creative when putting together a capital stack or business plan.