Legacy Fund Grant News

Spring 2021: First Grant Recipients Announced

In April 2021, the SHC Legacy Fund advisors reached a milestone. After extensive research and interviews to identify grassroots groups who met our criteria for support, we awarded our first four grants of $3,000 each to four dynamic community non-profit organizations. Another grant cycle is planned for Fall 2021.

As you will see, these four organizations are an exciting mix of established programs with evolving needs as well as newer programs picking up where past initiatives left a gap or new strategies are needed. Some have a historical connection with the Coalition, and all demonstrate strong local leadership to facilitate change through innovation and collective action. 

We are pleased to introduce our inaugural Legacy Fund grantees:



Based in northeast Tennessee, Appalachian Opportunity Fund (AOF) seeks to foster financial health and community wealth in rural Central Appalachia. AOF is pursuing this mission by providing People-Centered Financial Coaching to low-income single mothers and others excluded from the financial mainstream. The Executive Director, a Vanderbilt Law alum, benefitted from Vanderbilt’s advisory resources when AOF was established in March 2019. With a small grant, AOF’s first priority is to build funds to pay for a new Financial Coach. Specifically, they would like to hire a person who is female and African American and have identified a candidate to fill the position. This will enable them to better serve the local African American community which, statistically, has a greater need for AOF services than the Caucasian community. 



The Stay Together Appalachian Youth (STAY!) Project is the only youth-led, regional, grassroots network for young people (ages 14-30) in Central Appalachia. Its mission is to provide critical education and leadership training that will help future Appalachian leaders find meaningful and sustainable ways to actively participate, create change, and remain in their home mountain communities. One program in its beginning stages, the Black Appalachian Young & Rising (BAYR), supports Black youth leadership in Appalachia and has already shown a glimpse of how young black folks in Appalachia coming together can be a powerful force for creating change in the region. A small grant will assist one of the STAY! coordinators, Mekyah Davis, who will be working in his hometown of Big Stone Gap, VA. He will be partnering with Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards to establish a public community building and office space in town. Funds may also go to STAY’s membership support fund, which facilitates STAY! members’ participation in local community events. STAYS! fiduciary agent is Highlander Research & Education Center Inc.



SOCM-RP supports and promotes leadership development and skills training, grassroots community organizing, public education around important public policy, and active civic engagement in the democratic process. Its origin story is closely connected to the Vanderbilt Student Health Coalition. At a SHC-organized community meeting in January 1972, SOCM was formed and grew to represent 5 East Tennessee counties. Now, it is statewide with projects in East, Middle, and West TN. SOCM is committed to the journey of becoming an anti-racist organization, to overcoming social and institutional racism, and embracing our diverse cultures. A small grant will help provide access to water testing supplies for members in the field, access to hot spots for member leaders working in areas where there is no broad band or affordable internet access, and contribute towards intern/staff support especially in Knox, Anderson, and Cumberland counties.

ST. CHARLES CLINIC, VIRGINIA (Stone Mountain Health Services)


Citizens of Lee County, Virginia founded the St. Charles Health Council in 1973 and incorporated as a non-profit organization after hosting the Student Health Coalition health fair. Council members, primarily representing St. Charles and Pennington Gap, worked quickly and skillfully to build, staff, and open St. Charles Clinic. Several Coalition alumni joined the staff, including Dr. Art Van Zee, who has worked there for over 4 decades. The St. Charles Clinic is part of Stone Mountain Health Services. Arising from the opioid crisis, Dr. Van Zee established a treatment program at St. Charles Clinic. He identified the need for print resources to help in their buprenorphine treatment program for patients with opioid use disorder. He stated, “Many of them would not have the funds to buy these on their own.  If we had these available to give out to those unable to get them on their own, it could play a substantial role in their recovery.” 

Legacy Fund Donors as of May 2021

Robert Clyde Allen  Jack Beckford  Bradley Family (Connie Bradley, Chip Bradley, Taylor Loy & Rebecca Shelton)    Heleny Cook    Bill Corr    Rick Davidson   Anne Dierdorff & Richard Thomas    Margaret Ecker    John Gaventa    Hattie Gresham    Rosalie Hammond & Magnus Persmark    Bob Hartmann    Lark Hayes    Becca Joffrion Ingle & Joe Ingle    Paul Joffrion     Tom John & Brenda Butka    Pat Kalmans    John Kennedy & Eleanor Kennedy    Cathryn Stanley Krebs    Diane Lauver    Joe Little    Dal Macon & Marian Colette    Jean Massey    Moriah McArthur    Polly McClanahan & John McArthur    Neil McBride    Ginnie Thompson Munford    Ellen Ormond    Nancy Raybin & Bill Portlock    Dale Strasser    John J. Troidl    Irwin Venick & Jeanne Ballinger    Daryl Walker

Donations Made in Honor (H) and Remembrance (R) of the Following (as of May 2021):

“Aunt Lillie” Ayers of Jacksboro, TN (M)    Kate Bradley (M) and JW Bradley (H)    Carolyn Burr (M)    Bill Dow (M)    Howard & Elsie Elliott (M) & Family (H)    Dr. Brian Giemza, Texas Tech University (H)    Dr. Lew Lefkowitz (H)    Odes McKamey (M)    Art Van Zee (H)    “Aunt Vern” (Laverna) Walker of Robbins, TN (M)    Maxine Welch (M)

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