Appalachian Voices



Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a just economy and healthy environment in the Appalachian region. We bring people together to promote the ongoing shift from dirty, harmful energy resources like fracked-gas pipelines and coal from mountaintop removal mining, to clean, renewable energy affordable and accessible to all.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Tom Cormons J.D.

Deputy Executive Director

Kate Boyle

Main address



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NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Pollution Abatement and Control Services (C20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Appalachian Voices is working to address a host of complex, interconnected challenges facing our region that act as barriers to a swift and just transition to clean energy, economic alternatives to fossil fuels, the full enforcement of environmental laws, and serious action on climate change.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

New Economy Program

We launched our New Economy campaign in early 2015 to engage more directly in the coal-bearing region of Appalachia to spur healthy, sustainable economic alternatives to coal. Our multi-faceted approach remains focused primarily on accelerating clean energy development and innovative post-mind reclamation projects in ways that maximize local economic benefit. We are also working closely with community leaders and other experts to identify and begin to address systemic challenges facing Central Appalachian communities.

Population(s) Served

Monopoly control of the electric grid by corporations beholden to shareholders and guided by perverse incentives is incompatible with energy democracy -- a vision for an equitable and inclusive energy system -- and the demands of this moment on climate change and environmental justice. Appalachian Voices is working in three states -- North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee -- to erode the political underpinnings of the utility industry’s dominance and mobilize a diverse movement for large-scale reform.

Population(s) Served

The oil and gas and electric utility industries are pursuing a massive build-out of fracked-gas infrastructure in the Southeast designed to generate enormous profits at public expense and prolong our over-reliance on centralized fossil fuel generation. Appalachian Voices plays a leading role in the ongoing resistance, standing alongside thousands of citizens from diverse walks of life who are opposing the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, MVP Southgate, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and associated infrastructure like compressor stations planned for rural, low-income, and minority communities.

Population(s) Served

Mountaintop removal coal mining has a devastating impact on our region’s health, economy, and ecology. We are recognized as a national leader on this issue and have built a movement to support stronger regulations to curtail mountaintop removal and to defend the rulemaking process from coal industry-led attacks in Congress. We also work on the ground in coal-mining communities in the Central Appalachian coalfields of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee as a watchdog sampling waterways, analyzing water quality data and responding to citizen’s complaints to ensure environmental safeguards are fully enforced.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We envision an Appalachia with healthy, intact ecosystems and generative local economies that allow communities to thrive.

Based on the understanding that our theory of change must not solely exist at the community level but also in the state capitals and Washington, D.C., Appalachian Voices has cultivated a broad range of skills and strategies including:

- Collaborative Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement: Appalachian Voices’ credibility, deep community roots, and cultural sensitivity position us to lead collaborative efforts and ensure there is a diversity of voices at the decision-making table. We network with a broad range of allies from the public and private sectors to build consensus around shared goals and expand the constituencies advocating for more equitable clean energy policies.
- Grassroots Power-building: Local citizens are the experts of their own lives and must have a say in the decisions that affect their families and futures. Appalachian Voices invests at the grassroots level to develop community leadership and organizing capacity and to integrate local efforts with larger strategic campaigns. Our campaigns are geared toward helping affected stakeholders through boots-on-the-ground and digital outreach activities.
- Technical and Policy Expertise: Appalachian Voices’ staff includes scientists, attorneys, journalists, a former state regulator, and a range of complementary aptitudes that equip us to inform and support our strategies with the best data-driven analysis, and to serve as a trusted resource for community members, decision-makers, and the media.
- Clean Energy and Economic Transition Policy Advocacy: We build public and political support for policies that incentivize equitable clean energy growth and generative, local economic development. We share our knowledge directly through lobbying, expert testimony, scientific data, and public comments, and we help residents hold their representatives accountable.
- Strategic Communications: Appalachian Voices utilizes a range of communications channels—including national, state, and local newspapers, television, and radio, our popular bimonthly publication, The Appalachian Voice, and social and other digital media—to inform the public discourse on our issues and educate and mobilize target audiences with resonant and motivating messages.
- Providing Training and Expertise: Where appropriate and possible, we offer resources and training to help our allies organize their communities. Over the years, for example, we have trained hundreds of citizens to monitor the health of their watersheds.
- Commitment to Continual Improvement: We evaluate our tactics and develop intersectional strategies that require collaboration between program teams and leadership staff and we strive to be an adaptive organization, responding to emerging challenges and opportunities while staying true to our mission.

Appalachian Voices has grown into a powerful force for change. We now have a staff of nearly 30 professionals representing centuries of combined experience in four offices across three states. Our ambitious plans reflect this wealth of institutional knowledge, our proven record of success, and the belief that committed individuals and philanthropic entities will join us in the pursuit of our vision.

Notable recent results under the four objectives identified in Appalachian Voices' Strategic Plan are detailed in the paragraphs below.

Building a New Appalachian Economy from the Ground Up: Appalachian Voices was instrumental in passing HB 1252 through the Virginia House of Delegates, a bill that extends power purchase eligibility to tax-exempt entities in the commonwealth. We helped a cohort of Southwest VA communities achieve SolSmart designation by the U.S. Department of Energy. We secured federal funding for the Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot Program in 2019 and submitted or facilitated three successful applications for funding. Additionally, we held a RECLAIM Act fly-in which resulted in upwards of 60 congressional and agency meetings and increased support for passage of the bipartisan coal-community transition policy.

Transforming our Energy System to Serve the Public Interest: Appalachian Voices was a prominent voice opposing a Dominion Energy rate bill that would have allowed the company to reap massive profits at their customers’ expense and motivated Virginia legislators to strip the provision from the bill. We levied a $30 million penalty against Duke Energy for mismanaging coal ash in North Carolina. We’ve supported electric cooperative members in Tennessee by providing workshops, research assistance, and skills training, and assisted in forming the “Powell Valley Electric Cooperative Member Voices” to make their co-op more transparent and responsive to the needs of its members.

Preventing New Investments in Fossil Fuels: We submitted technical comments to the State Water Control Board on behalf of the VA Environmental Justice Collaborative. Because of our efforts, there was unprecedented engagement in permitting decisions by VA State’s Water Control Board and Air Pollution Control Board. A federal appeals court issued a stay of a water quality permit for the MVP stream crossing in response to a motion filed by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of Appalachian Voices and our allies. Our NC team generated turnout for a series of public hearings where citizens voiced their concerns about the proposed MVP Southgate. Our staunch opposition to the proposed ACP and MVP has contributed to billions of dollars in cost increases and significant delays in the pipelines’ permit schedules.

Addressing Coal’s Legacy: We strongly opposed Trump's nominee to lead the federal Office of Surface Mining and, after raising public awareness, the nominee withdrew his name from consideration. In TN, Clear Fork Mine was denied a bond release and withdrew a Phase III bond release application due to Appalachian Voices and our allies. We investigated and exposed loopholes in federal surface mining laws in Central Appalachian states and published a peer-reviewed study mapping the extensive footprint of mountaintop removal since 1985. Additionally, we sought legal action against Duke Energy for Clean Water Act violations at the Belews Creek Plant.


Appalachian Voices

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Appalachian Voices

Board of directors
as of 01/27/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kim Gilliam

No Affiliation

Kim Gilliam

Dot Griffith

Bunk Spann

Christopher Scotton

Clara Bingham

Pat Holmes

Pallavi Podapati

Tracey Wright

David Hairston

Peggy Mathews