Join IRSG and Invest Appalachia in a two-part webinar series as we explore innovative impact investing opportunities for philanthropy. Part 1 of the series (Tuesday, June 6th) will explore the who, what, how, and why of funders deepening their work around impact investing in rural communities to build community wealth and power. Part 2 (date TBC, late June) will explore the community perspective of how impact investing is catalyzing rural Appalachian communities’ work related to climate justice, regenerative economies, creative placemaking, and amplifying Native and Black communities in Appalachia. 

This event is hosted by Integrated Rural Strategies Group and Invest Appalachia, with additional co-sponsors and speakers to be announced!

Session 1:

Rural Impact Investing - Part 1: The Who, What, How and Why Foundations are Advancing Rural Justice with Impact Investing

Foundations are increasingly considering impact investing as a philanthropic strategy to complement their grantmaking and more fully align their philanthropic assets with their mission-based work. Indeed, supporting foundations to “liberate philanthropic assets” is at the core of NFG’s Theory of Change. Impact investing is a powerful tool to do so, and is a focus of praxis within the NFG and Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions foundation CEO cohort program, Philanthropy Forward.

Rural America is home to the highest rates of persistent poverty in the United States, coupled with a history of low philanthropic investment. Amongst rural regions, Appalachia, along with the Mississippi Delta and Native American/tribal lands, is one of the highest regions of intergenerational poverty. 

Invest Appalachia, a new “blended capital” impact investment platform, aims to increase investment into Central Appalachian communities that have been historically impacted by the extraction of the region’s natural resources, underinvestment, and generational poverty. IA’s infrastructure connects community-aligned projects and businesses to creative, flexible capital to absorb risk and leverage additional investment into rural communities. IA seeks to circumvent investment and philanthropic practices that often associate rurality with risk, using trust-based philanthropy, creative financing tools, and a partnership-based investment approach  to spark transformative change in rural communities. 

Join us for Part 1 of this two-part series as we explore the who, what, how, and why of impact investing in Appalachia. Part 1 will offer an interactive learning experience about Invest Appalachia’s unique community-centered model and how and why foundations are partnering with IA to liberate their philanthropic assets to bring critical resources to this region.


  • Zoila Jennings (she/her), Lead Impact Investment Officer - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Stephanie Randolph (she/her), Deputy Director - Cassiopeia Foundation
  • Ebony Perkins (she/her), Director, Impact Investments & Community Initiatives - UnitedHealthcare Community & State


Event Details


Jun 6, 2023 - Jun 6, 2023

11:00 am - 12:00 pm PT