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Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems Initiative (INSPIRE)



Letter of Intent (Required): May 17, 2021
Application Deadline: Jun 18, 2021

Sponsoring Organization

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)


Offers funding to address substance use and addiction in the Appalachian region through services that support employment for people in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Emphasizes stable employment as a key element of successful recovery and works to provide individuals with skills, training, clear career paths, and other supports necessary to obtain and maintain secure, well-paying jobs. Develops recovery ecosystems comprised of recovery communities, peer support, healthcare, human services, law enforcement, and other community stakeholders to help individuals enter or re-enter the workforce during the transition from SUD treatment into sustainable recovery.

Required INSPIRE program priorities include:

  • Training, job placement, and support activities to individuals with SUD, including the use of opioids, stimulants, amphetamines, and other substances
  • Coordination between workforce development organizations, training providers, post-SUD wraparound service providers, businesses and other partners to better assist individuals in recovery entering or re-entering the workforce
  • Partnerships with industry to develop organizational capacity, leverage resources, and implement community-based approaches for addressing workforce challenges and industry needs as they pertain to workforce entry and reentry
  • Support services to strengthen the recovery ecosystem and help employers address workforce issues
  • Plans to enhance existing partnerships, coalitions, or consortia through the addition of new partners
  • Community needs assessments providing information on direct recovery services, local service capacity, and input from individuals currently in recovery on service delivery

Grants are offered under 2 funding categories:

  • Implementation grants support projects seeking to implement, expand, or replicate successful models for establishing a recovery ecosystem focused on entry and re-entry into the workforce for individuals recovering from SUD. Funds can be requested for minor construction incidental to the project.
  • Planning grants support the development of plans and strategies to build or expand a recovery ecosystem that will be implemented in the near future or after the grant ends. Funds may not be used for the delivery of programs or services.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling:

  • Implementation grants - $500,000 per project
  • Planning grants - $50,000 per project

Project period

  • Up to 36 months for implementation grants
  • Up to 18 months for planning grants

Estimated total program funding: $10,000,000

Applicants must provide matching funds from non-federal, other federal, or a combination of sources for the project. ARC maximum contributions are determined by ARC's classification of the county or counties served by the proposed project. Applicants may request up to 80% of the total project costs when the county served is designated as economically distressed based on ARC's fiscal year (FY) 2021 County Economic Status in Appalachia classifications. Additional information on determining the match rate for multi-county projects can be found in the program guidance.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • Local development districts
  • Indian tribes or a consortium of Indian tribes
  • States, counties, cities, or other political subdivisions of a state, including a special purpose unit of a state of local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institutions of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private nonprofit organizations or associations

Applicants with current open Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) grants or grants addressing substance use disorder (SUD) are not eligible for this opportunity. Applicants with a current POWER grant that is not focused on SUD may apply for INSPIRE funding.

While applicants may apply concurrently for funds under the INSPIRE, POWER, or Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities (WORC) opportunities, they may only receive grant funding for SUD-related projects under one of these initiatives.

Geographic Coverage

Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information about the application process are available in the program guidance.

A letter of intent (LOI) must be emailed to by May 17, 2021. After the LOI submission is confirmed, applicants will receive detailed instructions to formally submit the final application.

Applications must be submitted online through the ARC application portal.

Prior to submitting the final application, every applicant is required to contact the state program managers of the states impacted by the project proposal to ensure the proposal aligns with Appalachian economic development priorities for each state served by the project.

2021 INSPIRE Initiative application virtual workshop video series recordings:

Applicant frequently asked questions


For questions about the INSPIRE Initiative or use of agency funds to support projects:
Contact the state program manager

Rural Awards

Past awards communities have received are described on the program website.

Rural communities who have received funding include:

  • University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa received funding for the RESTORE Alabama project, which will provide comprehensive employment, education, housing, transportation, and psychosocial support services to 45 individuals in recovery from SUD in the rural Fayette County area through the Restoration Springs transitional center. The program will help at least 36 individuals gain employment.
  • Kentucky River Community Care in Hazard, Kentucky was awarded funding for the Bridges to Work pilot project to establish a recovery ecosystem in two rural counties in eastern Kentucky. The project will provide counseling, workforce development, training, work-based learning, and recovery support services to 80 re-entering/court-involved males ages 18-34 in recovery from SUD.
  • Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission in Waverly, Ohio used funding to establish the Southern Ohio Employer Resource Network, which offers a wide range of support services and resources to assist individuals affected by SUD in 3 rural counties in southern Ohio. The program will provide Success Coaches to 1,000 workers/trainees to help them obtain and retain employment.
  • Alliance of Citizens Together Improving Our Neighborhoods Coalition in Mountain City, Tennessee received funding to develop the Bridging the GAP to Employment project to conduct needs assessments and create a plan for establishing a comprehensive recovery ecosystem in rural Johnson county. Planning seeks to better coordinate job training, recovery services, and other supports to help individuals in treatment or recovery from SUD rejoin the local workforce.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Education and Training • Employment • Opioids • Recovery • Substance Use Disorder