Life Skills Literacy in Appalachia

“Life skills literacy is a core component of the Washington County Community Foundation, and the Appalachian Financial Empowerment Center best exemplifies that standard,” said Adam Dickson, a fund advisory board member. “This special project embodies the idea that individuals starting their journey may be at one particular place, and through this impactful model, at the end of their time they end up at a much healthier place.”  

Developed through a partnership with Appalachian Opportunity Fund (AOF), United Way of East Tennessee Highlands, and Carter County, the Appalachian Financial Empowerment Center launched in 2019. Since then, 680 clients have received critical financial coaching. Program participants collectively have increased their credit scores by more than 14,700 points, paid off more than $800,000 in debt, and established savings of $225,000. The impact and steady growth of the program has demonstrated the need for more personalized, one-on-one relationship based financial coaching in the Appalachian region, where AOF recognizes there is a specific and unique approach needed to improve household finances. Through critical grant funding, the Washington County Community Foundation is helping AOF refine its community engagement approach while serving upwards of 125 people and families in need.

“It’s an incredible honor to serve this region alongside the Washington County Community Foundation board. Together we are able to improve and impact the lives of the residents and make Washington County an even better place to live and thrive,” says Jill Murphy, East Tennessee Foundation’s Regional Advancement Officer, who works closely with all ETF affiliate funds.

Created in 1994 as an affiliate fund of ETF, the Washington County Community Foundation is dedicated to improving and impacting the lives of underserved children and families in Washington County, TN.