Appalachian Community Fund, Inc.

Change, not Charity

aka ACF   |   Knoxville, TN   |


The Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) is a publicly supported, non-profit grantmaking organization that provides resources and support to grassroots organizations working to overcome the underlying causes of poverty and injustice in Central Appalachia (East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and West Virginia). We pool resources from a range of sources including individuals, businesses, and foundations to support community-led efforts and movement for social change, to support the training and leadership development necessary to strengthen the work in our region, and to cultivate the conditions for lasting, long-term change to be possible.

Notes from the nonprofit

Sexual identities: one person prefer "Queer" as opposed to LGBTQ categories. A male also wished to be "non-binary."

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Margo Miller

Main address

1405 E Magnolia Avenue

Knoxville, TN 37917 USA

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NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (R12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) was founded in 1987 to provide new resources to groups working for progressive social change in Central Appalachia (East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and West Virginia), and to be a sustainable resource base for community organizing and social change work in this region. Since our inception, we have awarded over $8 Million to more than 300 organizations working for justice. We pool resources from many sources including individuals, businesses, and foundations in order to provide critical financial support to help people organizing themselves to address systemic problems of poverty, racism, and social inequity in their own communities and neighborhoods.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Change, not Charity

ACF defines social change as the redistribution of wealth, resources, and power. It provides financial support through general fund grants, and technical assistance through organizational development grants as well as fundraising and/or development workshops.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Change, not Charity

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Fiscal year July 1 to June 30 2020-2021: 612875 2019-2020: 119700 During pandemic years, growth of grants awarded grew by 5 times.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Change, Not Charity
We’re after durable, lasting change—not quick-fix or band-aid solutions. We believe that action which arises from the people on the ground, from within the communities most affected by a given issue or concern, is far more valuable and effective than monetary handouts (no matter how well-intended) from a group of privileged individuals. Our work is motivated by our understanding that coordinated, community-led change is the only answer.

• Share findings of our grantmaking evaluation with grantees and stakeholders.
• Make necessary changes to how make and manage grants identified in grantmaking process.
• Host at least two grantee gatherings.
• Successfully complete the Small Capacity Builders pilot affinity group and grants program according to the deliverable outlined in the grant to CZI
• Continue the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium project. This coming year will include grantmaking.
• Continue to build the LGBTQ Fund with a goal of raising $8,000.
• Identify partnerships with grantees for technical assistance opportunities.

Communicating Issues of Region
• Increase ACF’s visibility and generate more name and brand recognition to help raise more money and raise awareness about the issues of the region. We will do this by analyzing and employing several strategies.

Social change starts with us.
Central Appalachia’s greatest asset is its people. Our region may face numerous, large-scale challenges, but we have shown time and time again that when we work together, share our knowledge and resources, and listen to those most impacted by the issues we aim to tackle, we can create lasting change.

Our programs are designed to advance important social justice initiatives and recognize members of our communities who have made significant contributions.
* Appalachian Hero Awards
* The Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium
* The Appalachian Affinity Project
* Out in Appalachia

Social change is the movement of people toward:
1. the establishment of environmental, economic and social justice and
Social change is the movement of people toward
2. the redistribution of wealth, power and resources via methods of self-determination and local empowerment

Appalachian Community Fund is bold, forward-thinking, inclusive—a champion of the people of Appalachia.
By lifting up the voices of our community, supporting our community’s vision for change, and advancing local leadership, Appalachian Community Fund (ACF) embodies the power of collective action and bottom-up transformation. Inclusivity is paramount to our definition of community, and this value is lived out in our efforts to give many different voices a platform. To everyone at ACF, “y’all means all” is much more than a fun catchphrase.
ACF’s commitment to effective, people-driven progress is bolstered by our firm Appalachian roots. Beyond honoring Appalachian culture and heritage, our approach to change-making fundamentally reflects the spirit of Appalachia: gritty and resourceful with a well-developed instinct for problem-solving. At the heart of the fund is a staunch belief in the sharing of resources, energy, time, and ideas with each other to achieve a common vision for change and to shift the narrative about Appalachia.

We built upon our goals and strategies recognizing our capabilities.
We did this through:
• Strategic grantmaking and technical assistance for community organizing efforts
• Working with donors who are committed to social justice
• Strengthening our region’s capacity and leadership for social change

In our collaborative processes, listening to each other and educating ourselves is crucial. So we’ve gathered some resources and developed a few lessons to begin—but we want to be clear: educating ourselves about topics like social change and anti-racism is a lifelong practice that doesn’t stop when the lessons on this page do. It is an ongoing and evolving commitment that requires constant curiosity, compassion, and self-examination. If enough of us make this commitment and keep coming back to it, though, we believe that social change is not just possible, but inevitable.

Social change is the primary goal and guiding principle of ACF's work. Our approach is growing the movement for social change in Central Appalachia is twofold:
1. We provide funding, resources and other forms of support to help meet the immediate needs identified by community organizations working for social change.
2. Guided by local leadership and the people on the ground, we strive to develop programs and initiatives addressing the root causes of poverty and oppression in our region.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    In a general sense, we serve the people of Central Appalachia. Not only do we fund organizations in the region. We are not only funding for social change, we tell the story of Appaalachia in the words of its people. In our funding choices and our communty practice, we support the voices of the region being heard.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, community visits have been limited during pandemic,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    During the COVID 19 pandemic, we reduced the amount of application paperwork to move needed funds into communities.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Grantee partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking for feedback is one thing. Hearing it and acting on it is another. By responding to the needs of grantees during this pandemic, we have made the relationship more truly a partnership. The burden on the grantees has been made a little easier in the process.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We have been unable to meet together, other than Zoom. It is more difficult to reflect on the work.,


Appalachian Community Fund, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Appalachian Community Fund, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/29/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Emanuel Bailey

Emanuel Bailey

Brandi Augustus

Paige Billman

Ashley Browning

Teresa Collins

Morgan Hall

Angela Reed

Richard Stonestreet

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/21/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/11/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.