Appalachian Community Fund: Tennessee Funders

OVERVIEW: The Appalachian Community Fund supports social change organizations that address race, gender, economic status, sexual identity, and disability in the Central Appalachia communities of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.

FUNDING AREAS: Social change, race, gender, economic status, sexual identity, disability

IP TAKE: This is a social change grantmaker that is very influential in the Appalachian region, especially for issues involving racism.

PROFILE: Established in 1987, the Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) is a community foundation based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The foundation aims to “build a sustainable base of resources to support community-led organizations seeking to overcome and address issues of race, economic status, gender, sexual identity, and disability.” It funds local grassroots efforts that address and attempt to overcome disparities in race, gender, economic status, sexual identity, and disability.

The Appalachian Community Fund has various funds that it awards grants through, including the general fund, technical assistance, LGBTQ Fund, Out in the South Central Appalachia Fund, Power and Powerless Fund, and FOCIS Giving Circle. A major component of ACF giving is its anti-racism work to address the needs of people of color. It often supports community-led efforts for affordable health and child care, youth leadership development, civil liberties, disability rights, racial justice, and arts and culture for social change. Other interests are tax reform, gender issues, environmental justice, domestic violence prevention, economic development, and criminal justice. Alternative arts and media, working class rights, and grassroots coalitions are also ACF priorities.

Grants range between about $500 and $2,000. Learn more about this funder’s local giving in the ACF grantees section of the funder’s website. Grantmaking focuses on Central Appalachia, which consists of numerous counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Past local grantees include Bridges Refugee Services, June Bug Center for Arts & Education, Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, and East Tennessee Permaculture Research.

This foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits and awards grants on a yearly basis from the unrestricted general fund program. The proposal deadline for the general fund is typically in late-April. Nonprofits can submit an application to ACF for its Power and Powerlessness Fund at any time. In the past, ACF has accepted applications for its LGBTQ Fund and for technical assistance. Direct general questions to the staff at or 865-523-5783.


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