On June 15, 2023, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced nearly $2.5 million in awards through READY LDDs, one of four tailored tracks under ARC’s capacity-building initiative, READY Appalachia.
These awards will help 26 Local Development Districts (LDDs) representing nine Appalachian states expand staffing and capacity to better support their communities in identifying, accessing, and implementing federal funding through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and other funding sources.
This package builds on the nearly $500,000 in READY LDD funds ARC awarded to five Area Development Districts in Appalachian Kentucky last month, bringing the total award package to nearly $3 million for 31 LDDs across 10 Appalachian states.
Supported in part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), READY LDDs provides Appalachian LDDs with match-free funding to hire additional staff and contractors dedicated to helping local communities identify, access, and manage the unprecedented levels of federal funding currently available for economic development projects.
“In Kentucky, our Area Development Districts are lifelines for local governments and communities,” said 2023 ARC States’ Co-Chair, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.
“It’s important to invest in the human and organizational infrastructure that’s already in place on the ground. These investments will uplift the folks who are doing the hard work across our Appalachian region,” he added.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to revitalizing Appalachian communities to thrive from good-paying jobs, sustainable infrastructure and healthier communities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “These places have long served as the engine of our nation and we are investing in them again for America’s future.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development entity of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
“ARC remains committed to working with our partners in our Local Development Districts to build parity throughout all of Appalachia,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.
“This latest round of funding will augment the work these Local Development Districts are doing to help their communities utilize unprecedented amounts of federal funding to create an ecosystem of growth and collaboration across the entire region,” she concluded.
READY Appalachia is an Appalachian Regional Commission community-capacity building initiative offering free training and flexible funding for nonprofit organizations, community organizations, local governments, and Local Development Districts (LDDs) in the Appalachian Region. Participants access cohort-based learning, skill-development, and grant opportunities to increase their capacity to solve pressing issues and effect long-lasting economic change in their communities.
ARC is allocating READY LDDs awards on a quarterly basis until all funds, totaling $4 million, are expended.