AOF seeks to stimulate community wealth in Central Appalachia by nurturing individual financial stability.
We believe that ANYONE can achieve financial stability with the support of a trusted financial coach, regardless of income, debt or credit history.
We meet people where they are, not where society thinks they should be. We know that financial matters can be hard to discuss. We create a judgment-free zone where people can be 100% open and honest.
Financial problems are often sticky, and no two are exactly the same. We take a customized approach with every client to find the path forward that is right for them.
Our goal is to have the greatest impact possible. We are not satisfied until lives are changed and your bottom line is strengthened. We measure our results obsessively and are always looking for ways to further maximize impact.
As former employees of a financial institution, we saw first-hand that banks simply are not designed to serve a people with low credit scores, higher debt loads, and lower incomes–a group which makes up a huge portion of Appalachian communities. Without access to more reputable financial institutions, these folks are forced to turn to predatory lenders and check cashers that charge exorbitant rates (over 400% for a pay day loan).
Financial stress and lack of access to affordable services crushes people, breaks apart families, hinders businesses, and weakens communities. By addressing the issues of financial stress and access to services, we can really make a difference.
Appalachian Opportunity Fund was born out of the work of a $230 million dollar financial institution serving central Appalachia. From 2014 through 2018 the credit union developed an impactful financial coaching model that changed the lives of hundreds of people. When the credit union discontinued the program in 2019, former employees came together to keep the impactful financial coaching program alive. Today, AOF seeks to offer our program to people and communities across northeast Tennessee, and eventually, all of the greater Appalachian region.
Our Board of Directors