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Coalition launches second round of funding for reclaiming coal sites

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Joey James, Principal, Downstream Strategies, [email protected], 304-292-2450

Following the success of its inaugural mini-grant program in 2020, the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition is preparing to fund a new set of partners and their innovative mine land reclamation and economic development projects.

The coalition is seeking applications from all interested public and private entities or individuals in Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio with project ideas that will reclaim abandoned coal mine lands while supporting community-based economic development. Mini-grant recipients will receive between $3,500 and $12,000 in start-up funds as well as technical and planning assistance from Downstream Strategies.

The award will provide resources and support in order to turn viable land reuse concepts into fundable projects, with the objective ultimately helping partners submit proposals to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) for the 2021 Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Program, a federal funding opportunity.

Applications are due May 21st. View the full request for proposals here.

“The projects selected for the mini-grant program are community-driven, place-appropriate forms of economic development that embrace the rapidly evolving economic and social conditions of our region,” said Joey James, Principal at Downstream Strategies, of the 2020 mini-grant recipients.

Kentucky-based Backroads of Appalachia was one of five recipients last year. Using the resources awarded by the mini-grant program, the organization then successfully secured an AML Pilot grant.

“Thank you for believing in our work and for providing us with funds to pay a grant writer to help us develop an AML Pilot grant application,” said Erik Hubbard, Director of Backroads of Appalachia. “Because of your support, we were able to hire an excellent grant writer, Ruthie Caldwell of Vision Granted. She helped us transform our concept into an effective proposal that won us a $400,000 AML Pilot grant to renovate a former satellite bank building into a flagship Welcome Center for motorsports tourists in Lynch, Kentucky. Without this mini-grant, we would never have received the $400,000 AML Pilot grant. So, thank you for believing and investing in us. We will not disappoint.”

The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition is a collaboration of organizations focused on sustainable development in Central Appalachia: Appalachian Voices in Virginia, Appalachian Coalfield Development Corporation in West Virginia, and Rural Action in Ohio—and regional technical expert, Downstream Strategies. The coalition works with community partnerships, organizations, and local governments to help identify, develop, fund, and implement innovative, community-focused reclamation projects that create jobs.

The coalition has engaged hundreds of people and organizations in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia, and its direct project assistance has resulted in several groundbreaking projects, totaling nearly $35 million in public and private investment in the states the organizations represent.

The coalition and its mini-grant program are supported by the Just Transition Fund, New York Community Trust, and several other foundations. For more information on the Coalition and its work to reclaim and reuse Appalachia’s mine lands, visit


Protecting the Central and Southern Appalachian Mountain Region


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