Sara Day Evans

Sara Day Evans

Founder of Accelerating Appalachia

2018 Global Fellow

Accelerating Appalachia educates and trains fifteen growth-stage businesses in a twelve-month program that includes a twelve-week intensive plus a nine-month follow-up. These businesses are connected to national and regional mentors, investors, peer networks, customers, and supply webs. They can then create good jobs and reach thousands of land producers in the region, influencing impacts on soil health and water retention across Appalachia. In 2018, Accelerating Appalachia will add updated regenerative business development and diversity and inclusion trainings. Accelerating Appalachia’s long-term vision is to license its unique “Building Soil & Soul” accelerator design to communities globally.


Sara Day Evans founded Accelerating Appalachia (ACAP) to marry her years of work in sustainable economies, environmental protection, and social justice into a program to accelerate a regenerative, socially-just economy. For seventeen years, Sara Day worked at Kentucky’s Department for Environmental Protection and North Carolina’s Department of Commerce where she built programs to promote healthier people and places. She received U.S. presidential commendations and state and regional awards for this work. When Sara Day’s sustainable economy program for high unemployment counties in North Carolina lost its funding, she launched ACAP to continue the important work of restoring the people and place of one of the most biologically diverse, yet poverty-stricken and over-extracted, regions in North America: Appalachia.