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SOAR Receives $200,000 ARC Grant


Shaping Our Appalachian Region Inc. (SOAR) received approval of a $200,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to help pay for the nonprofit organization’s startup costs as it works toward innovation, economic diversification and job creation across eastern Kentucky.

It is the first of four installments of an ARC grant announced last year totaling $750,000 to be distributed over four years.

“With SOAR operations now in full swing, this seed funding will help us pay for essential staff and secure much-needed office equipment to begin implementing the work that has been planned by the people of eastern Kentucky,” said Jared Arnett, founding executive director of SOAR.

“Thanks to the ARC and matching state funds, we can focus on the work at hand, knowing we have the support needed to carry out the tasks ahead,”  added Arnett.

In addition to the ARC investment, $137,500 in matching Kentucky Coal Severance funds are also being used to support SOAR operations.

Eastern Kentucky holds the highest number of economically distressed counties in the Appalachian region.

In 2013, Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers launched the SOAR initiative after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty. SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack those persistent challenges.

For more information about SOAR, visit online at: http://soar-ky.org

(story provided by Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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