About Us


In 1967, the Commission on Religion in Appalachia (CORA) created the Self-Help Task Force to research, identify, and address the various factors underlying widespread and persistent poverty in central Appalachia. In 1974, the (Task Force) incorporated as the Human/Economic Appalachian Development Corporation to promote, encourage, organize, mobilize for self-help community development, to make available realistic local business and job opportunities, and finally to carry out all other activities related to the general betterment of human and economic conditions.

Our Mission

The mission of Human/Economic Appalachian Development (HEAD) Corporation is to continue the innovation legacy within Appalachia by leveraging relationships through its network and providing sustainable resources to its members.

Who We Are

Human Economic Appalachian Development (HEAD) Corporation is a Community Development Financial Institution. HEAD promotes, encourages, organizes, and mobilizes community development projects.  HEAD also promotes local business and job opportunities that improve the human and economic condition of central Appalachian communities.

For the past 30 years, HEAD has focused upon the human aspect of community and economic development programs. HEAD has $1,000,000 in capital and provides small business loan funding, and financial and technical assistance to startups and small businesses. HEAD also provides debt financing, business planning, and deal structuring to small and mid-sized companies in central Appalachian communities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia through two financial instruments:

  1. Loan funds
  2. Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union

Growth Strategy

  • Infrastructure Development – Administrative Restructuring Social Entrepreneurship
  • Membership Development
  • Economic Security and Stability
  • Program Development Financial Education and Advocacy


In 1974 I dreamed big. The Human/Economic Appalachian Development Corp. (HEAD), The Appalachian FCU, and the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) were the result of those dreams, and years of hard work. However, in 2015, more than 40 years later, the reality of HEAD as a major micro business lender, the credit union becoming the Kentucky arm of the Appalachian Community FCU, a highly successful regional bank for low-income people, and FAHE becoming the largest coalition of low and moderate income housing providers in Appalachia, has vastly exceeded anything I could have imagined. I am honored and proud to be the founder of such a legacy.

– Rev. Dr. Ben Poage