Capitalizing Change: Appalachia’s Sustainable Finance Hub

By Tom Croft , Heartland Capital Strategies

SEPTEMBER 20, 2022


COMMENTARY | There’s a growing effort to change the way investments are made in the region and to ensure that local communities share in more of the benefits.

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles from ReImagine Appalachia, a coalition working to transform and strengthen the economy across parts of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. At Route Fifty, we’ve reported previously on this project in our news coverage. Here, we’re giving the advocates behind the effort an opportunity to describe their approach, for themselves, in greater detail.
This article in the series focuses on an initiative known as the sustainable finance hub, which is seeking to drive investment in the region that supports clean energy and other industries and creates good paying jobs in both cities and outlying areas.
You can find the other articles in this series here.

From the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh to the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky, Appalachians are all too familiar with the need for strong climate infrastructure.

For generations, working families in the region have faced cycles of boom-bust deindustrialization and resource depletion. The damages are still visible in shuttered downtown stores and a declining youth population scattered throughout the region. We’ve turned our back on those who were left behind by economic sabotage, absentee owners, bad trade deals and the energy transition away from coal. On top of that, there are dire predictions of even greater flooding, more devastating storms and heatwaves in the region.

The Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law are providing a surge of much welcomed, federal aid to the region. However, that’s still not enough to overcome the legacy of King Coal, which destroyed mountain tops and forests, and made the region particularly vulnerable to the fallout from climate change.


Recognizing the need for long-term financial self-reliance, former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, as part of the Marshall Plan for Middle America, or MP4MA, and ReImagine Appalachia, commissioned a project in 2020 know as the sustainable finance hub, to ensure the region has the necessary access to capital to usher in long-term recovery.

Read more here.

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