Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Seeks Applicants Enhancing Support Services in Appalachia’s Recovery Ecosystem

Up to $13 million available in FY 2023 for ARC INSPIRE Initiative grants to help Appalachian communities address substance use disorder crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 17, 2023—Today the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for its Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) Initiative. The grant program addresses the disproportionate impact of the substance use disorder crisis on Appalachian communities and workforces with investments of up to $13 million in projects that create or expand services in the recovery ecosystem and help facilitate workforce entry and re-entry.

Awards issued through the INSPIRE Initiative will support a wide range of projects on the post-treatment to employment continuum, including the development or expansion of recovery-focused job and workforce training programs, recovery support networks and specialists, cross-sector recovery-focused partnerships, wraparound services, and more.

“Substance use disorder has become an epidemic in our Appalachian communities that has sweeping impacts across our region,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “At ARC, we understand that while substance use disorder is a health issue, it is a workforce and community development issue as well, which requires a continuum of support services from across the community. Our INSPIRE initiative facilitates partnerships across the recovery ecosystem that not only provides help to those in recovery, but also hope and purpose as it sets them on sustainable career paths that will strengthen our entire Appalachian workforce.”

Successful INSPIRE grant applications will demonstrate the potential for individuals in recovery to obtain and maintain stable employment. Projects may include enhanced support services in the recovery ecosystem, strategies to integrate plans with existing state and regional economic development activities, and community- and partnership-based approaches for stronger coordination among services and providers across the ecosystem.

“Addiction touches so many of our families and it’s crucial we do what we can to help those struggling overcome by offering hope and support,” said ARC 2023 States’ Co-Chair Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky. “INSPIRE grants will help our fellow Americans find a pathway to recovery so they can lead full, healthy lives, while also supporting our Appalachian businesses with a skilled workforce.”

Since INSPIRE was established in April of 2021, ARC has invested $28.5 million in 84 projects across 289 Appalachian counties.

Despite this progress, ARC’s new report, Appalachian Diseases of Despair, tracks mortality rates in Appalachia over recent years, highlighting the continued need for ARC’s INSPIRE investments. In 2020, the overdose mortality rate was 50 percent higher in the Appalachian Region than the non-Appalachian U.S., and the gap has likely only widened in the wake of COVID-19.

Key Dates for INSPIRE RFP submission:

  • February 15, 2023: Pre-Application Workshop (Virtual)
  • February 21, 2023: Letters of Intent (LOI) due for INSPIRE implementation grants up to $500,000 and planning grants up to $50,000
  • Pre-Application Workshops (In-person; registration information coming soon!)
    • February 23, 2023: Southern Appalachia (Location TBA)
    • February 28, 2023: Central Appalachia (Location TBA)
    • March 2, 2023: Grant Writing Workshop (Virtual)
  • March 17, 2023: Final applications due
  • September 2023: Awards announced

Learn more about the INSPIRE Initiative and how to apply.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency 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.