Rural Support Partners Services

Management, Strategy, Collaboration Services

We are a nationally recognized management consulting firm with deep expertise in nonprofit management, social-enterprise development, networks, philanthropy, and rural community economic development. We work with high-impact leaders, non-profit anchor organizations, foundations, social enterprises, and networks that are working to bring about innovative forms of large-scale community and economic change in rural areas. Our services are based on a strong commitment to rural communities and result in increased organizational effectiveness, improved strategies, more collaborative efforts, and deeper impact.


We specialize in anchor organizations, grantmakers, and enterprises whose work advances complex community and economic change. Our services are built on decades of nonprofit and business management experience, employ the latest innovations from around the world, and remain grounded in what it takes to do effective change work in rural places. We ask powerful questions, listen deeply, and tailor our services to maximize organizational impact. The results of our management, planning, and strategy focused work includes increased organizational effectiveness, deeper community impact, and more resilient organizations. Core services include:

Organizational Assessment, Problem Solving, Consultation
Executive Transitions
Strategic Planning and Theory of Change
Program / Project / Initiative Development
Evaluation and Measurement Systems
Social Enterprise Business Planning and Theory of Change
Thought-Partnership and Coaching


We have more than 25 years of hands-on experience in building, growing, and managing rural networks, collaborations, and teams. From organizational staff teams, to regional collective impact efforts, to national networks, we help our clients cultivate the necessary relationships and trust, clarify group norms and values, define their collective focus, develop plans, and build the right management structure to get collaborative work done. Core services include:

Network and Team Assessment, Problem Solving, Consultation
Team Building
Development of Partnerships and Collaborations
Strategic Planning and Theory of Change for Networks
Network Evaluation and Measurement Systems
Backbone Support / Network Management Training and Coaching
Thought-Partner for those who fund or support collaborations and networks


Our experienced facilitation team has decades of experience in event planning and design, group process, and participatory facilitation. With this experience, we help groups learn from one another, find opportunities, uncover solutions to sticky problems, and make collective decisions. Our events are engaging, productive, and produce deeper relationships, shared knowledge, and greater alignment among the participants. Core services include:

Design, Facilitation & Management of:

Think Tanks / Problem Solving Retreats
Conferences, Gatherings, Events
Group and Staff Retreats


We are driven to capture and spread the lessons, innovation, models, and tools that arise from rural development work. Though participatory research and evaluation methods, we help clients understand their impact, reflect-on their efforts, and incorporate lessons learned into their future work. We also work to unearth, document, and share the innovation and proven practices that arise across RSP’s body of work—making us smarter consultants and helping to advance the broader field rural development. Core services include:

Participatory Research
Tool & Model Capture and Development
Workshops and Training
White Papers
Thought Partnership
Knowledge Capture / Training / Field building (white papers, thought partnership)

Our work starts by listening deeply to the needs, problems, and desires of our clients and partners. We pinpoint the leverage points to improve effectiveness, increase resiliency, and deepen impact. We tailor a suite of services to advance your project.

Our Approach

Our approach is participatory, streamlined, strategic, and results-based. We employ cutting-edge tools and tested methods, while offering our clients the flexibility of a customized and responsive approach to meet our clients evolving needs and interests. RSP’s services are based on a strong commitment to rural communities and result in more effective leaders, increased organizational effectiveness, improved strategies, more successful collaborative efforts, and deeper impact.

Rural Support Partners Values

Our mission-driven management consulting firm is founded on a commitment to inclusive participation and aims to have the plans, actions, and results emerge from the vision and goals of the people with whom we work. The following values are at the core of everything we do:


Our work is founded on the rock-solid belief that the people we work with have the skills, wisdom, vision, and capacity to solve complex problems, create effective solutions, and create transformative change. Our job is to pull out that wisdom, bring about collective analysis, help create action plans, and reflective practices. The consistent use of the Popular Education Spiral keeps us grounded in this value.

We strive to uncover, speak-to, and address the multiple oppressions that undermine the beauty, health, and well-being of all people and communities.

We work to build long-standing and equal-power partnerships with our clients—creating the trust and mutually supportive relationship needed to do difficult and messy work together.

Our results-based approach means that we start with the end in mind to ensure our work and the work of our clients are focused on clear outcomes. This approach leads to a more efficient use of resources, and ultimately a greater return on everyone’s investment of time, energy, and money.

We honor and learn from the work before us while working to strengthen and sustain the change infrastructure that will continue the work over long after us. We believe in opening doors and supporting young leaders to ensure that the work of creating more just and equitable rural communities endures over the long haul.

Learn more about our approach.

Our Team

Each member of our team takes pride in the on-the-ground and lived experiences that inform our work. We are a nationally recognized social enterprise working to advance the economic transition of Central Appalachia, grow new business models, and innovate the field of rural development. Get to know our team:

Thomas Watson, Managing Director

A social entrepreneur with 25+ years of experience in nonprofit and business management, community economic development, network building, and philanthropy. Learn more about Thomas.
Lindsey Wilson, Vice President

… brings more than 15 years of leadership across political, social justice, philanthropic, and non-profit work to her focus on network development and coordination for the Appalachia Funders Network. Learn more about Lindsey.
Kathryn Coulter Rhodes, Director of Organizational Consulting

Kathryn is an expert in conducting independent evaluations, designing and analyzing surveys, and mapping client information on ArcGIS. Learn more about Kathryn.
Fairleigh Hoots, Project Manager

Fairleigh is able to seamlessly coordinate people, agendas, and priorities to support client success. Learn more about Fairleigh.
Atlas Charles, Program Manager

Their experiences span multiple rural regions and fields including non-profit, education, entrepreneurship, and social equity work. Learn more about Atlas.

Our Clients

We partner with funders, nonprofit anchor organizations, financial institutions, and businesses inside and outside the Central Appalachian region to achieve their objectives with a deeper impact and broader scale.

Rural Support Partners' Client

Contact Us

Rural Support Partners is a mission driven consulting firm. Contact us to discuss how you’d like to advance your organization’s management, strategy, and collaboration in alignment with your goals.

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