2015-16 Host Community and Fellow applications are now being accepted!

Host Community Initial Application

Deadline: March 15, 2015


Fellow Application

Deadline: April 10, 2015

2015-16 Application Timeline

December 15, 2014 : 2015-16 Host Community Initial Applications Open / 2015-16 Fellowship Applications Open

January 26, 2015: Philanthropy Community Informational Webinar

February 5, 2015: Host Community Informational Webinar

February 15, 2015: Deadline for Host Community Initial Applications - EXTENDED TO MARCH 15!

February 17, 2015: Fellowship Webinar

February 27, 2015: Announcement of Finalist Host Community Applicants 

March 4-5, 2015: "Strengthening Alternative Economics in Appalachia" Regional Gathering / Fayetteville, WV

March 15, 2015: New Deadline for Initial Host Community Applications

March 2015: Site Visits with Finalist Host Community Applicants 

April 10, 2015: Deadline for Fellowship Applications

April 13, 2015: Deadline for Final Host Community Applications

April 30, 2015: Announcement of 2015-16 Host Communities 

May 2015: 2015-16 Host Community/Fellow Matching Interviews

May 18-19, 2015: 2014-15 Appalachian Transition Fellowship Closing Gathering 

May 29, 2015: Announcement of 2015-16 Host Community/Fellow Final Projects

September 9-17, 2015: 2015-16 Fellowship Program Begins with Appalachian Tour and Orientation


"Strengthening Alternative Economies in Appalachia" : A Regional Gathering 

March 4-5, 2015 / Fayetteville, WV

Regional Strategic Gatherings connect the work of the Appalachian Transition Fellowship to a wider participant base around opportunities in important economic sectors.   These sessions provide a space for people from non-profits, business, philanthropy, and educational groups throughout the region to share their work, and identify challenges and strategies to move the sector forward in Central Appalachia.

We invite people and groups working in these areas to join the fellows and host communities in a regional gathering.   Our goal is to bring together groups and individuals from various sectors throughout Appalachia who might not otherwise have an opportunity to talk, share their work, and envision strategies to further a just economic transition throughout the region. 

For more information, click here

Eric Dixon

Eric Dixon

What are your plans after you graduate?

I can’t tell you how many times that question was asked of me over the past 12 months. This time last year, I was toying with the idea of pursuing a master’s in economics or policy, either in the US or UK. There was also an outer realm chance I might masochize myself through law school.

The question was where and what to study. Not ‘should I go to school at all?’ And just as I was beginning to have a response for those wondering what I was doing with my life, my graduate school plans spontaneously combusted.

Now, if you’ve ever witnessed spontaneous combustion, you know it’s second only to stuffing a 20-pound watermelon with mortar-shell fireworks (not that I’ve ever done that). In terms of obliteration, it’s so stunning a rainbow should appear afterwards.

So you can imagine that the halt of my school plans was brought on by my discovery of something even more exciting and rainbow-worthy: a newly developed program called the Appalachian Transition Fellowship managed by the Highlander Research and Education Center. I’d heard of that place. I’d heard a lot about that place...

What is the Appalachian Transition Fellowship Program?

The Appalachian Transition Fellowship is a year-long, full-time, paid program designed for 15 emerging community leaders who are committed to working in Central Appalachia for the economic transition of the region. Central Appalachia is defined as West Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee, Appalachian Ohio and Western North Carolina. 

This program offers the opportunity to spend a year working within host communities to help foster cross-sector (education, nonprofit, for-profit, philanthropy, and government) partnerships, provide needed capacity to regional efforts, and build personal and professional skills. Through institutional placements, independently designed projects, training, and mentoring, the program gives emerging leaders and host organizations skills and networks needed to advance economic and social change in the region.

Central Appalachia is engaged in a period of economic transition. While the decline of previously stable industries such as coal and manufacturing bring significant economic instability, it also offers Appalachia the opportunity to focus on the long-term well-being of its people and its communities. This economic transition allows regionally-based industries to prosper while also protecting and supporting the environmental and social well-being of the region. The Appalachian Transition Fellowship (AppFellows) seeks to increase the connectivity and capacity of Appalachian institutions and leaders while building a collective analysis and seeding projects to change the systemic problems in our region, leading to a just and sustainable Appalachian economy.  

2014-15 Host Communities and Fellows


Appalachian Citizen's Law Center, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC), and Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) / Fellow: Eric Dixon - Whitesburg, KY 

Community Farm Alliance, Foundation for Appalachian KY and Foundation for a Healthy KY/ Fellow: Mae Humiston - Eastern KY

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC), City of Benham and Christian Outreach with Appalachian People (COAP) / Fellow: Josh Outsey - Benham, KY

North Carolina

Carolina Textile District and Opportunity Threads / Fellow: Willa Johnson - Morganton, NC


Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet), American Electric Power, Athens City Government and Rural Action / Fellow: Carol Davey - Athens, OH

ReUse Industries, Ohio University Voinovich School and Rural Action Zero Waste Streams / Fellow: Zack Swick - Athens, OH


UT Dept of Sociology and Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development (SEEED) / Fellow: Tom Torres - Knoxville, TN


Appalachian Sustainable Development and Virginia Tech / Fellow: Derrick Von Kundra - Abingdon, VA

West Virginia

Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and City of Spencer / Fellow: Adam Hall - Parkersburg, WV

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Mountain View Solar and One Foundation / Fellow: Tyler Cannon - Huntington, WV

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center (CMAC) and Corey Brothers / Fellow: Joey Aloi - Charleston, WV

WV Center for Civic Life, WV Community Development Hub and WV PBS / Fellow: Catherine Moore - Statewide West Virginia


The Alliance for Appalachia and Virginia Tech / Fellow: Kendall Bilbrey

Webinars and Community Informational Powerpoint 

Please click here for the Fellow Webinar Powerpoint

Please click here for the Host Community Webinar Powerpoint

Please click here for the Community Foundation Webinar Powerpoint