For Immediate Release

June 3, 2020

The Plains, OH — Six organizations have banded together to create a Resilience Fund to offer rapid-response grants to businesses and nonprofits facing serious economic challenges in Appalachian Ohio and the Mid-Ohio Valley counties of West Virginia.

The fund, which also is seeking donations to fuel the effort, will offer quick access to grants ranging from $500 to $3,000. Businesses also will be able to receive information about loans, capital investment, and other grant sources. The six fund founders are Rural Action, Ohio University’s Voinovich School, the Athens County Foundation, Sugarbush Valley Impact Investments, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

“We are hoping to provide an agile response for businesses to help them safely re-open and recover from the impacts of the shutdown,” said Debbie Phillips, CEO of Rural Action. “Rural Action is happy to partner in this collaborative effort by coordinating the fund, and we are excited to help bring resources directly to businesses in the area. We are grateful to everyone who worked to put this fund together.”

Grants can be used for business inventory, rent, and utilities, securing the employment of staff, or other costs that are preventing the sustainability of an organization’s operation. The grants do not need to be repaid.

A Grants Committee composed of stakeholders from the six organizations that created the fund will meet weekly to assess applications and make award decisions.

“Our goal is rapid allocation to ensure greatest sustainability,” said Faith Knutsen, Director of Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Ohio University’s Voinovich School. “The Grants Committee reviews applications in the week following receipt, and a funding decision is made in the next ten business days. We hope to fund successful applicants within a month of submission.”

The Resilience Fund also is accepting donations of all sizes, and donations are tax-deductible.

“Our community’s response to these economic challenges has been incredible,” said Kerry Pigman, Executive Director of Athens County Foundation. “The Resilience Fund creates a central place where business can seek help and donors can contribute knowing their money is being used wisely and effectively.”


Businesses, social enterprises, sole proprietors, and entrepreneurs based in the following Ohio and West Virginia counties, or doing business that substantially impacts these counties, are eligible to apply.

Ohio Counties: Adams, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington.

West Virginia Counties: Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Mason, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Wood.

For more information about applying for a Resilience Fund grant — or to donate to the fund — please visit

Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 32-county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. Learn more about Rural Action at



Ellie Dudding

Rural Action Assistant Community Coach

(740) 590-7661