We help accelerate innovation and scale by capturing and spreading the lessons, innovation, models, and tools that arise from rural development work.


Through participatory research and data analysis, we help clients understand the world around them, clarify their impact, reflect, and incorporate their best thinking and lessons learned into future efforts. Areas of expertise include:

Participatory Research
White Papers
Tools, Models, Best Practices Capture
Thought Partnership
Stakeholder Surveys, Focus Groups, and Interviews
Data Collection, Analysis, and Visualization
ArcGIS Mapping


As a learning organization, we work to unearth, document, and share the innovation and proven practices that arise across our work. Pulling from this large body of knowledge, we routinely offer our own workshops and work with clients to tailor staff training based on need and interest.

We do workshops and training on a variety of topics including:

Participatory Facilitation
Backbone Support Organizations
Systems Thinking
Community Wealth Creation
Customized Workshops and Trainings
Systems Based Organizing

Our Clients

RSP is fortunate to have worked with a variety of funders, nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, and businesses inside and outside the Central Appalachian region. Below is a list of all our previous and current clients.

Rural Support Partners' Clients

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.
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 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.

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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