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Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers today announced $1 million in ARC grants to support the Appalachian Rural Development Philanthropy Initiative (ARDPI).  Governor Beshear joined Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl and other community leaders in Somerset for today’s announcement.

The initiative supports the development of permanent, accessible community foundations in Eastern Kentucky that will work to secure local assets to provide long-term resources for their communities.

Click here to view photographs from ARDPI press conference at The Center in Somerset.

Click the links below to view news coverage from the event:
WKYT 27 NewsFirst
Lexington Herald-Leader
Commonwealth Journal
The Lane Report 

The project funding will also advance the goals of Endow Kentucky, a program established by the 2010 General Assembly to enhance the quality of life for Kentuckians through increased philanthropic activity.

“Establishing sustainable philanthropic organizations throughout Appalachia will enable communities to grow endowments that will benefit local residents,” Gov. Beshear said. “Permanent community foundations also allow residents to know their contributions will go toward providing support and growth close to home, boosting overall community development.”

The Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative’s 2010 Transfer of Wealth study estimated that a sizeable amount of private assets will shift out of Eastern Kentucky communities within the next generation. ARDPI seeks to capture some of those assets through philanthropic endowments before they are transferred out of Appalachian communities.

ARDPI’s program work will include regional planning, training for communities, develop­ment of an on-the-ground consultant program, and the use of mini-grants to assist communities in planning for securing and leveraging local resources.

The ARC is working with seven Kentucky-based partners to move the initiative forward, including: The Center for Rural Development, Brushy Fork Institute, the Community Foundation of Hazard & Perry County, the Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Blue Grass Community Foundation, the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, and the Endow Kentucky Commission. Two of the recipients—The Center in Somerset and Brushy Fork Institute in Berea—will provide overall strategic planning, training, education and promotion for the initiative.

Of those seven partners, four received a total of $1,004,000 in ARC grants to assist in development over the next two years:

  • The Center for Rural Development, Somerset – $582,150
  • Brushy Fork Institute, Berea – $171,750
  • Foundation for the Tri-State Community, Ashland – $133,600
  • Community Foundation of Hazard and Perry County, Hazard –$116,500

The ARDPI partnership will help expand and organize philanthropic infrastructure in an initial group of eight pilot counties—Elliot, Magoffin, Knott, Letcher, Clay, Knox, Bell and Whitley—and will grow to include additional counties in year two.

“This initiative has at its core a strong public/private partnership, which is fundamental to the project’s future success”, said Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder.  “Thanks to Governor Beshear, Congressman Rogers, ARC, and all our committed partners in these distressed communities, there will now be a philanthropic infrastructure established that will direct local resources to meet community needs for generations to come.”

“We are participating in the ARDPI partnership because it aligns perfectly with The Center for Rural Development’s vision to be a national model for economic development,” said Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. “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.”

ARC partners with federal, state and local governments in an effort to support sustainable community and economic growth throughout Appalachia by funding projects that range from education and job training to housing and business expansion to transportation and infrastructure development.

For more info on ARC, please visit