Our FRAMEWORK

We believe in place-based economic development strategies that support local entrepreneurs and build on community assets.  

 

Promote Economic Diversification

We support projects in a variety of low-carbon sectors that create jobs, build wealth, and strengthen the local economy.

Expand Workforce Development

We help scale wraparound workforce development programs that train former coal workers and community members for jobs in the new economy.

Improve Infrastructure

We target efforts to improve and expand infrastructure, like broadband, that is essential for an inclusive economic transition.

Our Process

How We Work

We leverage public and private resources, and guide policy change to accelerate a just economic transition—from the ground up.

We identify and invest in effective community-based organizations.

We help local leaders and groups by investing in their economic aspirations and developing the capacity needed to realize them.

 

We connect leaders with specialized expertise.

Financial support alone is not enough. We combine our grants with technical assistance in the form of transition planning support, help in accessing public funding, and connection with a team of experts.

 

We host convenings and events to bring the transition movement together.

We highlight best practices, model programs, and innovative solutions to enable leaders to learn from one another and move toward success.

We work alongside our partners to secure comprehensive federal and state transition policy solutions.

We elevate local perspectives that are essential to achieving effective economic, energy, and climate policy progress.

We help scale model solutions.

We promote public investment to stimulate early-stage initiatives and private investment to scale and sustain inclusive growth for the long term.

 

Our History

The Just Transition Fund was established in spring 2015 by Rockefeller Family Fund and the Appalachia Funders Network with the support of six other foundation partners: blue moon fund, Chorus Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

The Fund was initially created to help local organizations secure funding through the POWER Initiative, the first federal program targeted to communities impacted by the changing coal economy. In the process, we helped jumpstart the engagement of national philanthropy and showcased the innovative, ground-up ways that local communities are working to revitalize their local economies.

We’ve evolved our approach over the years to catalyze and support the national just transition movement more broadly, while helping more communities tap into a growing number of federal funding opportunities.

Where We Work

We focus on mining and power plant communities in major coal-affected areas of the United States. Within these regions, we prioritize support for communities experiencing the most distress, taking into account socioeconomic factors that make economic transition even more challenging.

The West
The Midwest
Appalachia
Under Consideration

The West

Areas of the western and southwestern United States are well known for their prolific energy production, with 40 percent of the nation’s coal being mined in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. But the region, including many Indigenous communities that have inhabited it for hundreds of years, is beginning to reel as coal plants and mines close.

Our work in the West

The Midwest

The Midwest has a long and deep relationship with coal, experiencing booms and busts throughout the 20th century and into recent decades with the expansion of mines in the Illinois Basin. But as demand for the region’s coal declines and cleaner energy outcompetes coal power, more midwestern states and communities are embracing the need for long-term planning, community investment, and policy change.

Our work in the Midwest

Appalachia

The rugged landscape of Appalachia’s coal-bearing region is famous for its ecological abundance, narrow ridgelines, and steep valleys. But centuries of industrial-scale and increasingly mechanized coal mining operations have reduced hundreds of mountains to rubble through the use of mountaintop removal mining while producing a legacy of persistent poverty and pollution.

Our work in Appalachia

The West

Areas of the western and southwestern United States are well known for their prolific energy production, with 40 percent of the nation’s coal being mined in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. But the region, including many Indigenous communities that have inhabited it for hundreds of years, is beginning to reel as coal plants and mines close.

Our work in the West

The Midwest

The Midwest has a long and deep relationship with coal, experiencing booms and busts throughout the 20th century and into recent decades with the expansion of mines in the Illinois Basin. But as demand for the region’s coal declines and cleaner energy outcompetes coal power, more midwestern states and communities are embracing the need for long-term planning, community investment, and policy change.

Our work in the Midwest

Appalachia

The rugged landscape of Appalachia’s coal-bearing region is famous for its ecological abundance, narrow ridgelines, and steep valleys. But centuries of industrial-scale and increasingly mechanized coal mining operations have reduced hundreds of mountains to rubble through the use of mountaintop removal mining while producing a legacy of persistent poverty and pollution.

Our work in Appalachia

Our Guiding Principles

The Just Transition Fund was founded on a belief in the power of community, collaboration, and the potential for shared prosperity in the places hardest hit by the transition away from coal.

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Community Self-Determination

Partnership and Collaboration

Equity and Justice

Inclusivity and Accessibility

Impact and Learning

Transparency and Accountability

Positivity and a Solutions Mindset

Adaptation and Healthy Striving

Our Initiatives

How we advance economic solutions that are equitable, inclusive, and low-carbon.