ARC Launches New Funding Opportunity to Support Local Development Districts Serving Distressed Areas and Marginalized Groups

  • October 11, 2022

After serving 650 local leaders from all 13 Appalachian states through its Community Capacity Building Pilot Program, ARC will provide financial assistance of up to $100,000, with $2 million total available, to Appalachia’s Local Development Districts through its new funding opportunity, READY LDDs.

Washington, D.C., October 11, 2022—Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced a new funding opportunity for Appalachia’s Local Development Districts (LDDs) through READY Appalachia, its recently launched community-capacity building initiative. The new opportunity, READY LDDs, will offer up to $100,000, with $2 million total available, to Appalachia’s LDDs to hire additional staff and build local capacity to best utilize the federal funding available from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and other sources.

READY LDDs, one of four tailored tracks offered by READY Appalachia, is effectively a continuation of ARC’s Community Capacity Building Pilot Program. Supported financially by the Environmental Protection Agency, the pilot launched in January 2022 to help local government officials, key staff, and LDDs leverage the ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund for projects with sustainable economic impacts. As of its final session on September 27, 2022, the pilot served more than 650 participants – who represented 408 counties from all 13 Appalachian states and 90% of Appalachia’s LDDs – through nine sessions and three topic-based small group discussions. Though participants will be able to access resources after the pilot’s completion at the end of 2022, they emphasized their persistent need for more training, technical assistance, and staff capacity to understand and effectively manage historic amounts of funding from federal agencies.

“ARC’s partnership with Appalachia’s Local Development Districts is key to our success and the success of the region,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “By supporting their ability to build community capacity through our READY LDDs opportunity, Appalachian LDDs will be better equipped toward utilizing funding to leverage more partnerships, building strong community leaders, and better extending the reach of their programs to our most economically distressed and marginalized communities, leveling the playing field to ensure Appalachians not only survive but thrive.”   

“As a result of the READY Appalachia Initiative, we are proud to launch READY LDDs in order to support local development districts across our member states,” said ARC 2022 States’ Co-Chair Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland. “The financial assistance granted through READY LDDs will help to provide our region’s business owners and local leaders with the tools they need to both grow their workforce and spur further economic development in Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties.” 

READY LDDs is accepting applications from Appalachian LDDs, with special consideration given to those serving at least one of the following:

  • distressed areas,
  • Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities priority communities,
  • smaller under-resourced, and difficult to reach populations, organizations, and local governments; and, 
  • historically marginalized populations.

Selected LDDs will receive up to $100,000 in match-free funding to hire additional staff and contractors dedicated to helping communities identify, access, and manage ARPA, IIJA, and other federal funding streams. Ready LDDs complements the pilot program by providing financial assistance to LDDs that are helping communities plan and execute projects that spark economic change through business development, job retention or creation, enhanced community livability, tourism, infrastructure development, and more.

“This is a significant step forward for real change,” said Adam Ortiz, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator.  “We’re honored to be a part of this initiative which complements EPA’s ongoing restoration and revitalization partnerships throughout Appalachia.” 

READY LDDs applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are expended. Applications will be reviewed and funds will be allocated on a quarterly basis, with the first quarterly cycle closing on December 31, 2022.

More application information can be found in this request for proposals and at

About READY Appalachia
READY Appalachia is an Appalachian Regional Commission community-capacity building initiative offering free training and flexible funding for nonprofit organizations, community foundations, 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.

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.