Opportunity Appalachia

Bringing investment to Central Appalachian coal-impacted communities, creating new jobs and businesses that support sustainable growth.

Program Partners

Opportunity Appalachia

The Opportunity Appalachia program will continue to provide targeted support for downtown and rural development to build entrepreneurial communities where local business can thrive, creating quality jobs for residents, helping to address the Covid downturn and revitalize local economies. 

Opportunity Appalachia is expanding a program that has already supported 17 development projects in a three-state region in Central Appalachia that seek to raise over $250 million in financing.  The expanded Opportunity Appalachia program is anticipated to assist 40 additional communities to structure investments in real estate projects that support strategies for economic restructuring and diversification. Investment priorities include projects focusing on downtown development, manufacturing, IT, healthcare, education, food systems, clean energy, heritage tourism and recreation. 

For this new group of 40 participating communities, a range of Technical Assistance will be provided to selected projects, including: market assessment, design/architectural, engineering, business plan development, financial structuring, prospectus preparation, and capital raise support.  The program will not hire staff to provide this support, but instead will contract with both in-region and national organizations for these services.

Once investment prospectus are completed for projects, Opportunity Appalachia and TA providers will assist local projects to outreach to investors including Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds, New Markets Tax Credit CDEs, Historic Tax Credits, banks, CDFIs, private investors and public funders.  Outreach activities will include the hosting of a highly visible regional investment event (Investor Convening) – to highlight a portfolio of high impact projects in Central Appalachia that provide both robust social and sufficient financial return.

These participating projects are anticipated to create 3,000 jobs – including jobs for persons in addiction recovery, the long-term unemployed resulting from impacts in the decline in the coal industry, and minorities and women.  Increased investment in Minority / Women – Owned Business Enterprises, including Minority developers and TA providers, is also a program priority.

The types of technical support to be provided by the Opportunity Appalachia program include:

  • 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
  • other types of assistance.

This support will be provided on contract by experienced business and development partners. It is anticipated that support of $30,000 – $75,000 will be provided for each applicant, averaging $50,000 per project.

Target geography

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

Priority Communities:

For more information on the 2020-2021 Opportunity Appalachia program, please see 2020-2021 Project Portfolio, below, and 2020-2021 Program Summary and Impact Statement here

Program Participation (2022)

To participate in Opportunity Appalachia and receive technical assistance for project prospectus development and support for capital raising, we encourage you to:

  • Join the informational webinar, January 25, 2022. See Webinar information below
  • Attend state outreach events in North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, to be held February/March 2022. See dates and venues below.
  • Submit the Opportunity Appalachia application to participate, see below for the link to the application and submission dates. It is anticipated that up to 40 communities/projects/businesses will be selected to participate in the Opportunity Appalachia program. If you have questions about the application, please contact the lead state partner in your state, see below.

Opportunity Appalachia welcomes applications targeting one community / project and welcomes applications targeting several communities/projects that have compatible development strategies. Opportunity Appalachia will review applications with one or more projects identified for investment.


Application Deadline: TBD
Applications must be submitted via the Online Application Form to be considered for program support.


State Outreach Meetings (2022)

To learn more about the Opportunity Appalachia program, please attend a session.

Program Launch Webinar

January 25, 2022 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin will open the program, and Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Tom Barkin will share pre-recorded remarks.*The webinar will provide an overview of the Opportunity Appalachia program and present how your community and project can participate. *Please note the Mr. Barkin’s remarks were recorded on January 13, before the start of a ‘quiet’ period when Federal Reserve officials refrain from public commentary leading up to monetary policy discussions.

Register Here

West Virginia

Thursday, February 10, 10:00 AM – 12 PM

Virtual Meeting

Agendas will be available shortly for these State Outreach and Information Meetings.

Erik Johnston, Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, has been invited to open the program.



February date coming soon

Virtual Meeting

Agenda and registration will be available shortly.

John Carey, Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia has been invited to open the program.


First week of March, date coming soon

Virtual Meeting

Agenda and registration will be available shortly.


North Carolina

Wednesday, February 16th 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Virtual Meeting

The NC Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders has been invited to speak.

Leadership from NC Department of Commerce has also been invited: Chief Deputy Secretary Jordan Whichard, Executive Director of Economic Development Susan Fleetwood, and Asst. Secretary of Rural Economic Development Kenny Flowers

Register Here



February – Date coming soon

Location TBD

Agenda, invited speakers and registration will be available shortly.




Provision of Technical Assistance (2022)

The types of technical support to be provided by the Opportunity Appalachia program include:

  • 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
  • other types of assistance

This support will be provided on contract by experienced business and development partners. It is anticipated that support of $30,000 – $75,000 will be provided for each applicant, averaging $50,000 per applicant.

Entities interested in providing Technical Assistance must complete the Request for Qualifications RFQ, below.

Request for Qualifications RFQ (PDF) – COMING SOON

Program Manager & Steering Committee

The Opportunity Appalachia program Steering Committee is comprised of the following regional and national organizations:

Program Manager

  • Appalachian Community Capital (ACC), a 27-member CDFI intermediary whose members and their affiliates manage over $1 billion in assets supporting economic development in Appalachia.

Lead State Partners – lead community development state partners:

  • Mountain BizWorks (NC) – A leading CDFI in Western NC building a vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial community by helping businesses start, grow, and thrive, engaging community leaders across a 24-county region.
  • OhioSE – The lead regional economic development organization in Eastern and Southern Ohio working in a 25 county area, supported by Jobs Ohio.
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville – Office of Outreach and Economic Development, manages statewide programs, provides seed investments, and supports public-private partnerships with community development leaders.
  • Opportunity Southwest Virginia / UVA – Wise – Pilots the way for 19 counties and scores of communities in Southwest Virginia to support economic and community development efforts to create thriving entrepreneurial communities that accelerate progress for both new and established ventures.
  • West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center – Works across 33 counties and is the lead partner in the WV Downtown Appalachia Redevelopment Initiative which seeks to revitalize small WV communities through provision of technical support and project financing.

National Technical Assistance Providers

  • Main Street America – With a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, MSA works to successfully transform communities and revitalize local economies.
  • Coastal Enterprises Inc – This leading national rural CDFI has deployed over $1.3 billion in financings directly and through its New Markets Tax Credit CDE affiliate.


Opportunity Appalachia investor outreach will occur through both an Investor Convening event, and through outreach and support from the Steering Committee and Technical Assistance providers. 

A highly visible Investor Convening will be held to highlight participating communities and related investable transactions.  Pre-vetted National Impact investors, NMTC CDEs, banks, CDFIs, and Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) will be invited to attend, a curated web-based platform hosting prospectus / pitch decks will be made available to assist investors pre-event, and project pitches from participating investment-ready communities will be presented.

TA providers and the Steering Committee will also leverage their local and national relationships to introduce promising transactions to vetted and interested investors.  These outreach and placement efforts involve support for introductory meetings and if possible, site visits.

Information on the 2021 Opportunity Appalachia Investor Convening is available here.

Local Partners

State collaborators and planning partners informing activities in each state include:

North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Dogwood Health Trust, Land of Sky Regional Council, Southwestern Commission, High Country Commission, Foothills Regional Commission, Western Piedmont Council of Governments, Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation, Western Carolina University, Mountain West Partnership

Ohio: OhioSE, JobsOhio, Appalachian Partnership Inc, Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs, Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC), Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

Tennessee:  University of Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, First TN Development District, Southeast TN Development District, Upper Cumberland Development District, East TN Development District, South Central Development District, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Sync Space, Biz Foundry, Pathway Lending, BrightBridge Capital, Three Roots Capital.

Virginia: UVA Wise/Opportunity SWVA, LOCUS, VA Department of Housing and Community Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation, LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, Thompson Charitable Foundation, People Inc, Virginia Coalfields Economic Development Authority and Virginia Community Capital.

West Virginia: Brownfields Assistance Center at WVU, Partner Community Capital, and WV Community Development Hub. Additional partners to be announced.


Opportunity Appalachia 2020-21 Project Portfolio:

The following projects were selected for participation in the 2020 Opportunity Appalachia program. (Investment Prospectus and pitch deck are available at Opportunity Exchange)

  • 20 Federal Place, Youngstown, OH.  $34M redevelopment of 330,000 SF historic downtown mixed use/community facility/retail site.  Project Sponsor: City of Youngstown.  TA Team: Steadfast City, Scarlett Oak Capital.
  • Blue Ridge Plateau Initiative, Fries, VA.  Pathogen Free Sheep Production / farming for Animal Derived Materials research and medical products markets.  TA Team: Matson Consulting, Merrik & Company, Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute.
  • Bristol Sports and Events Complex, Bristol, VA.  $15.6M new multi-use sports facility.  TA Team: People Incorporated Financial Services, Thrasher Engineering, Synergy Sports Advisors.
  • Canal Warehouse Restoration, Chillicothe, OH.  $8M redevelopment of 40,000 SF historic downtown Ohio & Erie Canal Warehouse to mixed-use retail/live-work spaces.  National Register of Historic Places.  Project Sponsor: City of Chillicothe.  TA Team: Sunday Creek Horizons, Thomas P Miller & Assoc.
  • Cohen Building, Grafton, WV.  $10M redevelopment of historic downtown building for use by identified for-profit and non-profit tenants.  Project Sponsor: Unleash Tygart, Inc. TA Team: People Incorporated Financial Services, Thrasher Engineering, CohnReznick.
  • Green Industrial Manufacturing Ecosystem Inc. (GIME), Struthers, OH.  $1.5M redevelopment of 6,000 SF former manufacturing facility, with three identified ‘green’ businesses as tenants.  TA Team: KO Consulting.
  • Hotel Swisher, Somerset, OH.  $3.2M historic boutique hotel, 15 rooms in downtown, locally owned, supporting tourism and outdoor recreation in drivable ‘gateway’ community adjacent to metros.  Project Sponsor: Village of Somerset.  TA Team: The Clay Christensen Group, LOCUS, Schooley Caldwell, HVS.
  • Micronic Technologies, Bristol, VA.  $3.75M investment in high growth award-winning water technology company.  TA Team: Genedge, Bear Technologies, PSP.
  • Morgan County Improvement Corporation, McConnelsville, OH.  22 Loft Style Apartments, $4.5M.  TA Team: Sunday Creek Horizons, Thomas P Miller & Assoc.
  • mount TERRA LLC, Bluefield, VA. Two projects: Virginia Ave Warehouse redevelopment and Virginia Ave Boutique Hotel.  $4M in downtown projects that supporting new anchor Fortune 50 tech business in Bluefield. TA Team: LOCUS Impact and Thrasher Engineering.
  • Prichard Revitalization, Huntington, WV.  $36M redevelopment of historic downtown property, 50,000 SF of tenants identified including healthcare provider, regional university, and includes 100 units of affordable/workforce housing.  Project Sponsor: City of Huntington.  TA Team: National Development Council.
  • Staats Building, Charleston, WV.  $6.6M redevelopment to 31,000 SF of mixed-use retail/housing for the 5-story historic structure, to include local foods / farmers market and artisan crafts.  TA Team: National Development Council, ZMM Architects, Terrell Ellis & Assc.
  • Thundercloud, Inc, Fiber Network and Data Center, Huntington, WV.  $20M fiber network and data center operated by local non-profit with support of leading community institutions.  TA Team: Blue Ridge Advisory Services Group, Center for Business and Economic Research – Marshall University Research Corporation.
  • Tygart Hotel, Elkins, WV.  $13M historic hotel redevelopment supporting tourism and outdoor recreation in drivable ‘gateway’ community adjacent to metros, for this 55-room hotel.  Project Sponsor: Woodlands Development Group, local CDC.  TA Team: The Mills Group, Steptoe Johnson, HVS.
  • Vaughan Furniture Building, Galax, VA.  $92M redevelopment of historic downtown anchor building, to include 220,000 SF of residential, and 220,000 SF of retail, commercial, business incubator, and event space.  Project Sponsor: City of Galax. TA Team: Summit Design and Engineering, Opportunity Virginia / LOCUS, National Main Street Center.
  • Zanesville Gateway Project 9118, Zanesville, OH.  Project Sponsor: City of Zanesville.  TA Team: Sunday Creek Horizons, Thomas P Miller & Assoc, MKSK Studios.

For Program Summary and Impact Statement, click here

For independent program evaluation from Midwest Evaluation, click here