On our 40th anniversary we proudly reflect on a long and successful legacy of serving the people of Appalachia, and in positively influencing policies and programs to better serve all communities of persistent poverty. Fahe has served over 616,000 people and invested over $1.5 Billion in Appalachia. This is far more than our founding Members dared dream was possible, but it is their hard work and commitment to serving many people well that made this scale of impact possible. While these 40 years include impressive accomplishments of local leaders collaborating for common good, more importantly, these decades of service provide a blueprint and framework for our work today and in the future. We have built great momentum and made great partners and friends who are committed to keep this momentum going until we have solved the problem of persistent poverty and inequality that affects too many of our communities.
The Fahe Network is able to celebrate this milestone together (virtually) at our annual Spring Retreat for executive directors. Our Spring Retreat allows us to come together to share knowledge and strategize for the future. Right now, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, this planning and leadership is even more important as we tackle the current need plan how to serve our communities during the recovery. We are able to have our Spring Retreat in part thanks to our great sponsors: McBrayer; Craft, Noble, & Company; Tennessee Housing Development Agency; Phil Brown Insurance Agency, Inc.; and Central Bank.
Fahe was born from a need to centralize the support of low-incoming housing in Central Appalachia. The Human Economic Appalachian Development (HEAD) Corporation, with the support of the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) and other partners, formed Fahe on April 23rd 1980 to directly address the affordable housing issue in Central Appalachia. While many nonprofit housing organizations existed across the region, there was a need for collaboration and shared access to resources among these groups; Fahe was created to fill that role.
In Fahe’s articles of incorporation, it states: “The Corporation is organized and shall be operated . . . primarily to carry out in the counties of Central Appalachia the following purposes:
For 40 years Fahe has been guided by these tenets, expanding and growing in some areas, but always true to our core vision of “A Central Appalachia proud of sustaining its culture and environment and where growth, opportunity, and hope are balanced with regard to housing, employment, educational opportunity, and quality of life.”
In 1980, Fahe consisted of seven Member organizations. Today Fahe stands strong with 50+ Members across the Appalachian portions of KY, WV, TN, VA, MD, and AL. We also partner and advocate with national organizations facing the same underinvestment as we do here in Appalachia, therefore bolstering our collective voice and collaborative efforts.
Though we have faced many obstacles over the years from chronic disinvestment, policy shifts, recessions, and other crisis, we have managed to grow, overcome, and make an impressive impact on the issues facing the region and the quality of life for Appalachians. As we move forward, we plan to tackle the core of the issues, including chronic disinvestment, to bring even more change and opportunity to Appalachia and other areas of persistent poverty.
Thank you for joining us in our celebration of Fahe’s 40th Anniversary and in our celebration of looking to the future where we change the landscape to ensure no community is left behind.
A snapshot of the first Decade of Fahe: