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Invest Appalachia Board of Directors Announces New CEO

On behalf of the Invest Appalachia board of directors, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Andrew Crosson as the founding CEO of Invest Appalachia.

Andrew was unanimously approved by the board for this inaugural position at the conclusion of a competitive nationwide hiring process. The board is confident that Andrew will bring the vision, energy and the expertise needed to build and sustain the deep regional partnerships that are critical to Invest Appalachia’s success as a catalytic funding partner for investment, revitalization and growth in the Central Appalachian region. Earl Gohl, Invest Appalachia board member and previous federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission shared, “Andrew brings not only capacity and passion to Invest Appalachia but also a deep understanding of the region in terms of its opportunities, and challenges.”

Invest Appalachia will be a driving force in helping to build resilient and equitable communities throughout Central Appalachia where local entrepreneurs, community leaders and investors collaborate to advance economic opportunity and locally-rooted markets. The work completed through Invest Appalachia will center the region’s unique cultural, environmental and human assets as the foundation for sustainable economic growth.

Andrew, a native of rural western North Carolina, has nearly ten years of experience working in community economic development in Central Appalachia. In his role as Rural Support Partners’ Director of Regional Initiatives, Andrew helped advance community economic development across Appalachia, leading major initiatives related to local food systems development, clean energy, impact investing, network development, non-profit management, capacity-building, and strategic planning. While at RSP, Andrew served as an integral part of the team that originally identified the need for a regional impact fund. He supported a three-year collaborative process to create a model for an integrated, community-driven capital collective focused on catalytic investments that leverage regional capacity for a systems-wide approach to regional economic resilience.

Stephanie Randolph, Invest Appalachia board chair shared, “The board conducted an extensive search to find the right person to lead and launch Invest Appalachia.  Andrew’s reputation as a collaborator on systems-building efforts, coupled with his deep experience with across sectors made him a strong candidate for the position.  The interview process revealed another level Andrew’s leadership, capacity and vision to serve the region at the next level.  I know I speak for the full board in saying we are excited Andrew has accepted the position and look forward to his leadership and vision.”

“The successful launch of Invest Appalachia will take a special type of leadership that is both able to deeply understand the needs of the region and that can engage philanthropic and private investors in committing funds to serve our communities. Andrew clearly brings that special range and depth of skills that we need from a founding CEO to establish, build and grow the fund,” Stephanie Tyree, Invest Appalachia board member and executive director of the WV Community Development Hub shared. “I have been continually impressed with his collaborative leadership style and was frankly blown away by his vision for the future of the fund. I am looking forward to the opportunity to support him as he steps into this role and builds Invest Appalachia into a critical player in the region.

“I have come to know Andrew through our participation in the Central Appalachian Network, and have been impressed by his depth of knowledge and his ability to bring people together to achieve real impact.” Debbie Phillips, Invest Appalachia board member and Chief Executive Officer of Rural Action said. “Andrew is smart and agile, and he knows the players in the region. The moment is right for Invest Appalachia to take impact investing and community development to the next level, and Andrew is the right leader, in the right place to get the job done.” 

For more information about Invest Appalachia, including ways to invest and engage in the fund, visit the newly launched website

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