Contact the Rural Youth Catalyst Project

For additional information about the Rural Youth Catalyst Project or to collaborate with us please email Kim Phinney and Kathy Moxon.

Kim Phinney
Kathy Moxon


Kim Phinney is the Co-Founder of Rural Youth Catalyst and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Rural Strategies. Working nationally, the Rural Youth Catalyst (RYC) aims to strengthen and create opportunities that allow rural and Native youth to realize their hopes and dreams while remaining in or returning to their communities. RYC seeks to: strengthen the capacity of local practitioners, pilot replicable innovative solutions to persistent barriers, and change the policy indicators used to measure success for rural and Native young people and their communities.  


Previously, Kim served as the Vice President of Program Design for YouthBuild USA where she oversaw the organization’s education, career pathways, and support service components of the YouthBuild model. In this role, she helped craft the strategy for YouthBuild USA’s overall vision and mission for scale and sustainability, managed a $13 million annual portfolio of federal and private funders, built cross-sector national partnerships, and crafted a range of technical assistance and professional development strategies across the field of 262 urban and rural programs. In addition, she piloted several national initiatives including strategies for building foundational readiness skills from a trauma informed and Universal Design for Learning lens. She also led opportunity youth career pathway projects in manufacturing, IT, Customer Service, and natural resources, as well as designed an education and career pathway framework for rural and Native youth.   


Prior to her role as a Vice President, Kim established a national rural initiative to develop the YouthBuild model in rural communities and create a framework for technical assistance and training. Over the course of a decade, 16 rural YouthBuild programs scaled to 83 across the nation. During this time, she launched the Rural Youth Caucus gathering in Washington D.C., the only national, leadership development gathering of rural and Native Opportunity Youth in the country. Additionally, she led numerous policy initiatives, Hill Day campaigns, and served on a range of policy working groups including the Rural Assembly Steering Committee.  Kim received the 2016 YouthBuild Impact on the Field Award and the 2012 President’s Award. 


In addition, Kim worked as the development director for Third Sector New England (TSNE) as well as an interim program officer for Boston LISC/Neighborhood Development Support Collaborative leading their Human Capital Development Program. At the start of her career, Kim directed a program at a Community Action Agency in Burlington, Vermont supporting the self-sufficiency goals of low-income single mothers. That work committed her to addressing the numerous obstacles faced by rural young people living in poverty and isolation. Over the following decade she went on to serve as the Executive Director of the Vermont Women’s Rape Crisis Center where she advocated on a range of public policy issues including helping secure VT’s first Violence Against Women’s Act federal grant, helping establish the City of Burlington’s Human Rights Commission, and helping create the first Single Room Occupancy (SRO) for homeless women. In 1998, she was given the Women’s Rape Crisis Center Visionary Award.  

Kim has also served as a member of the Westford School Board and lives with her family in the wonderful community of Westford, Vermont. 

Kathy Moxon lives and works in the Northwest corner of California and is the Co-Founder of Rural Youth Catalyst. Previously, she served as the Director of the Rural and Native Initiative for YouthBuild USA where she developed a national model for education and career pathways for rural youth as well as spearheaded the technical assistance and training to a field of over 80 programs across the country.  Utilizing an intensive learning community approach to capacity building, Kathy led numerous regional and national learning communities with rural and Native youth practitioners and organizational leaders. Across her work, Kathy brings expertise in trauma informed care, education equity, and youth development in a rural and Native context. 


In addition, Moxon brings to her role, 15 years in community banking and 20 years in philanthropy, community and economic development. Her banking years were spent in commercial lending and management including the development of a government lending division (USDA 504, SBA Preferred Lender Program) for the bank. She was the executive director of Arcata Economic Development Corporation where she continued working with both USDA (Intermediate Relending Program) and SBS (Microlending program) and increased higher risk regional capital availability by $7 million.  She spent 15 years as the director for community strategies for Humboldt Area Foundation focused on the development and implementation of a regional economic development strategy.  She was the program design lead for The California Endowment, Building Health Communities Initiative in Del Norte County, CA. 


Moxon provides leadership for Redwood Coast Rural Action, a four-county leadership network in northwestern CA focused on work best addressed by the collective region including policy, research, regional planning, and project implementation.  In her leadership role she has served as the chairperson for the California Stewardship Network (, a geographically diverse group of organizations bound by an ethic of stewardship and triple bottom line outcomes (social, environmental, and economic.) She is dedicated to the development of the next generation of statewide leaders and is the co-director of the Becky Morgan Steward Fellows program developing collaborative leadership skills focused on triple bottom line outcomes at the local, regional, and state levels. She was awarded the CA Regional Steward of the Year award at the CA Economic Summit in 2019. 


In addition to her paid work, she served on the Rural Assembly Steering Committee. Currently, Kathy volunteers as a board member of:  Open Door Community Health Clinics a $80 million, 14 site, clinic system serving Humboldt and Del Norte counties in northwestern California, Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. a non-profit that owns 50,000 acres of timber production land operated for the long-term benefit of the proximate communities and Garfield School District board of trustees, a small rural school district in Humboldt County CA. She has raised 4 children in Humboldt County CA and enjoys spending time with her 6 grandchildren.