Robin Gabbard to Lead Mountain Association as New President

Introduction and Background

BEREA, Kentucky (June 3, 2024)—Robin Gabbard of Gays Creek, Kentucky, will be the next President of the Mountain Association, a community economic development nonprofit established in 1976. Gabbard, who has been Board Chair for the organization since 2019, is replacing Peter Hille, who announced his retirement last fall. With more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, Gabbard joins the Mountain Association from LKLP Community Action, where she served as Chief Operating Officer for six years.

Leadership Transition

“We know Robin will lead the Mountain Association with authenticity and innovation, two characteristics essential to the right leader for an organization that has adapted and evolved to best serve its communities for almost 50 years. Robin embodies everything we and the staff were looking for in the next President,” said Hasan Davis, Mountain Association’s Board Chair. “I am thrilled to step into the presidency of Mountain Association. This position for me is about listening, learning, and lifting. Not only do we serve a region full of incredible community and business leaders, but Mountain Association is staffed with remarkable and thoughtful professionals who have shaped the organization into what it is today: a regional nonprofit with a national reputation for the good work it does,” said Gabbard.

Mountain Association’s Mission and Work

The Mountain Association invests in people and places to advance a just transition to a new economy for Eastern Kentucky and serves the region from its offices in Hazard, Prestonsburg, and Berea. The organization’s work includes small business lending and technical assistance, support for clean energy projects, research, communications and advocacy for policy and narrative change, and collaborations with partners on a variety of community economic development projects. The Mountain Association also supports two affiliate organizations, Kentucky Natural Lands Trust and Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, and several fiscal sponsorships, all together totaling more than 50 employees.

Legacy of Peter Hille

Hille has served as President since 2015 and, like Gabbard, was also previously on the organization’s board prior to joining the staff. During his tenure, Hille has grown the Mountain Association’s work to include new lending products, expanded clean energy programming, and more equitable ways to support small businesses and nonprofits. “It has been an honor to have guided this organization in various capacities for more than two decades. I’m delighted to be passing the torch to Robin and I have full confidence that Mountain Association’s work will grow in new and exciting ways with her leadership,” Hille said. Hille will remain on staff as CEO through April 2025 to ensure a seamless transition.

About the Mountain Association:

The Mountain Association is a nonprofit that invests in people and places in Eastern Kentucky to build a new, more diverse, sustainable, equitable, and resilient economy. As a Community Development Financial Institution, their Lending Team offers flexible loans to existing and startup businesses and organizations, lending to those who may not qualify with traditional lenders. Their Business Support program connects business owners and nonprofit leaders to consultants who can help them succeed in areas like website development, social media marketing, and more. Their Energy experts help businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies find much-needed energy savings through energy efficiency and solar assessments, grant application support, and financing. The Mountain Association also does research, communications, and advocacy for policy and narrative change, and works with partners on a variety of projects to demonstrate what’s possible in Eastern Kentucky. For more information, visit

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