Andrew Crosson

Director of Regional Initiatives, Rural Support Partners

Asheville, NC

Accelerate Collaboration, Regenerate Soil & Nature  |  Community Economic Development, Funding / Investment, Rural Community Development

Andrew is helping to weave collective impact networks across Appalachia to strengthen and support local community anchors and move sustainable economic development efforts to scale.

Andrew has been at Rural Support Partners since June of 2012. As Director of Regional Initiatives at RSP, Andrew works with leaders, organizations, and networks to support regional strategies that advance Appalachia’s transition towards a just and sustainable economy for all. Andrew coordinates the Central Appalachian Network (CAN), a network of non-profits pursuing sustainable economic development strategies to transform Appalachia’s economy; Impact Appalachia, a multi-stakeholder initiative to strengthen the region’s investment capacity and opportunities from the ground up; the Appalachian Food Summit, a coalition of foodways actors and advocates; and other collaborative efforts.

A native of Appalachia, Andrew’s path to sustainable economic development work began in a small farming community in the mountains of rural Western North Carolina. His occupations over the years have included everything from carpentry, fence-building and saw-milling to working at his family’s local food retail business in Fairview, NC. While at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned Bachelor’s Degrees in History and Political Science with Honors, a minor in Environmental Studies, and was a founding member of campus groups devoted to local food systems and community gardens. Andrew’s international experience includes a semester of study abroad in Spain, a summer of independent field research in South America, and two years teaching English in Spain, and travel in over 25 countries and 5 continents. He completed a Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Granada in Spain, where his thesis research focused on the role of agriculture in rural development and sustainability.

Andrew is on the board of directors of Just Economics of Western North Carolina, a non-profit supporting living wage employment, policy advocacy for equitable housing and transportation, and grassroots leadership development. He serves on the advisory board of The Lord’s Acre, a non-profit community garden for the hungry. Andrew is also one of the 2016-2017 BALLE Local Economy Fellows and a 2018-2019 BALLE Network Weaver.


  • Rural Support Partners helps make stronger non-profit organizations, more strategic networks, and smarter foundations.
  • Driving the creation of multiple forms of community wealth built through sector-focused value chains.
  • Creating a shared vision, language, and agenda for Appalachia’s economic transition.
  • Supporting innovative economic models that work for communities, including social enterprises and value chains.
  • Aligning and coordinating resources across the region, from federal to philanthropic.