First of four grant installments approved
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2015) – Shaping Our Appalachian Region Inc. (SOAR) received approval of a $200,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to help pay for the nonprofit organization’s startup costs to find ways to improve the economy of Eastern Kentucky. It is the first of four installments of an ARC grant announced last year totaling $750,000 to be distributed over four years.
In addition to the ARC investment, $137,500 in matching Kentucky Coal Severance funds are also being used to support SOAR operations.
Eastern Kentucky holds the highest number of economically distressed counties in the Appalachian region. In 2013, Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers launched the SOAR initiative after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack those persistent challenges.