Welcoming the First Appalachia Investment Framer Cohort

Invest Appalachia and LOCUS Impact Investing – as part of the Appalachian Investment Ecosystem Initiative – are partnering with the West Virginia Community Development Hub to host the first Appalachia Investment Framer Action Cohort. In fall and winter 2021, fourteen participants are increasing their knowledge and connections to activate investment-worthy projects related to small business, social enterprise, community facilities, and downtown real estate development. Participants are building the skills necessary to expand community investment in the Central Appalachian region and improve economic resilience in the communities where they work.  

The first cohort includes: 

  • Peni Adams, WV Hive Network (Beckley, WV)
  • Joanie Beaver, Middlesboro Main Street (Middlesboro, KY)
  • Garrett Blaize, Appalachian Community Fund (Dickenson, VA)
  • Ruthie Caldwell, Vision Granted LLC (Pikeville, KY)
  • Atlas Charles, Rural Support Partners and The Central Appalachian Network (Kingsport, TN)
  • Leah Glover, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (Charleston, WV)
  • Jennifer Hudson, Williamson Health & Wellness Center, Inc. (Williamson, WV)
  • Lauren Kemp, RenewAll, Inc. (Huntington, WV)
  • Scott Kreps, Tecumseh Theater & Trail Town Network (Shawnee, OH)
  • Kayleigh Kyle, Fairmont Community Development Partnership, Inc. (Fairmont, WV)
  • Raymond Moeller, WV Brownfields Assistance Center at WVU (Morgantown, WV)
  • Noah Noble, City of Booneville (Booneville, KY)
  • Kim Ross, Mount Terra, LLC (Bluefield, WV)
  • Cindy Whetsell, Lewis County Economic Development Authority (Weston, WV)


Participants are learning from regional and national experts, building their network with key partners in the funding and investment sectors, and applying what they learn to community projects. 

The Appalachia Investment Framer Action Cohort is supported by the Appalachian Investment Ecosystem Initiative, launched in 2019 with funding from Cassiopeia Foundation, Danville Regional Foundation, Greater Clark Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Thompson Charitable Foundation, UnitedHealthcare, and Wells Fargo.

“In order to accelerate community investment in Central Appalachia, we need to build a stronger and more inclusive pipeline of people working across the region who have the skills, tools, and connections needed to ‘frame up’ investment opportunities. Too often, good ideas at the community level do not move forward because our region has a limited number of people with the financial skills and understanding of capital needed to bring promising projects forward for investment,” said Andrew Crosson, Chief Executive Officer of Invest Appalachia. 

“With the Appalachia Investment Framer Action Cohort, we are creating a more equitable system that will increase our ability to bring capital into Central Appalachia. Growing this knowledge-base is the lynchpin to successfully draw the kinds of new and varied investments that help communities improve their economic futures,” said Deborah Markley, Senior Vice President of LOCUS Impact Investing. 

“This is a unique leadership development opportunity for community and economic development practitioners in Central Appalachia. When our region has a strong base of people who hold this kind of knowledge, and who are networked in with one another to both identify and move forward new projects, we will have even more regional leadership and resources to spur catalytic economic activity to drive community growth,” said Stephanie Tyree, Executive Director of the West Virginia Community Development Hub.

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