The Appalachian Regional Commission will provide $1 million in grants to support development of community foundations in poor areas of Eastern Kentucky, federal and state officials announced Monday.
A key goal is to help build up local philanthropy to meet community needs.
The grants will support the Appalachian Rural Development Philanthropy Initiative, according to a news release.
A 2010 study estimated that a substantial amount of private money will flow out of Eastern Kentucky over the next generation. The philanthropy initiative wants to capture some of that money for community projects before it's gone, according to a release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.
"Establishing sustainable philanthropic organizations throughout Appalachia will enable communities to grow endowments that will benefit local residents," Beshear said in a news release.
The grants, which will be used over the next two years, went to the following organizations: The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, $582,150; Berea-based Brushy Fork Institute, $171,750; the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, in Ashland, $133,600; and the Community Foundation of Hazard and Perry County, $116,500.
Eleven economically distressed Eastern Kentucky counties will benefit initially from the Appalachian philanthropy initiative. They are Bell, Clay, Elliott, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin and Whitley, according to Beshear's office.
The grants were announced at The Center for Rural Development by Beshear; U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, a Republican who helped found the center and represents much of Eastern and Southern Kentucky; Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the ARC; and Tony Wilder, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Local Government.
"The initiative will grow the economy of our region by allowing wealth that is already here to remain here, and then be invested in worthwhile endeavors that improve the quality of life and make our communities great places to live, work, and raise our families," said Lonnie Lawson, president and chief executive of the center.