Co-sponsored by Philanthropy Southwest
The demographics of rural America are changing: nine out of ten rural areas are more ethnically diverse than they were 20 years ago. Many who live and work in rural communities are striving to promote participatory civic engagement, challenge structural inequity and racism, and foster transition to economies that sustain both people and the environment.
Philanthropy has a role to play in shaping an equitable, sustainable, and resilient future for rural and small-town American communities, one that is led and informed by the assets, needs, and many resources of local residents. Two recent scans—one released by NFG and entitled “Voices from the Field: Rural Organizers on What They Need From Funders,” and the other the Wallace Global Fund’s “All the People, All the Places: A Landscape of Opportunity for Rural and Small Town Civic Engagement“—underscore the importance of rural and small-town communities in power building and organizing at the intersection of land, people, and the environment. Based on learning from the field, the reports provide recommendations for those making philanthropic investments in this space.
Join NFG, the Heartland Fund, and SAFSF for a three-part webinar series where we will share and discuss the findings of the two scans, hear from field leaders about their work and what they need from funders, and connect with grantmakers funding in rural and small-town communities.
The first webinar (October 11) will share high-level takeaways and recommendations from the two scans as well as reflections from leaders of dynamic frontline organizations. The second webinar (November 15) will brief funders on some of the emerging implications of the recent mid-term elections for rural and small-town communities and the issues we collectively care about. The third webinar (December 13) will dive deeper into the conversations primed by the first two dialogues, answering questions from funder peers and exploring philanthropic strategies in this space.
Whether your organization has many investments in rural communities or you are still puzzling out what the term “rural” really means, we invite you to join this dynamic webinar series and explore opportunities to learn from, lift up, and support innovative and equity-promoting work in rural and small-town communities across the country.Who is this webinar for? If you are a foundation leader (staff or board member) currently funding in rural communities across the country or interested in funding in rural communities and small-towns, you are encouraged to attend.Please direct questions to Adriana Rocha, vice president of programs at Neighborhood Funders Group, or Susie DiMauro, program manager at Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders.
About the Integrated Rural Strategies Group: Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) established the Integrated Rural Strategies Group to assist the philanthropic field to understand where the opportunities exist and released “Voices from the Field: Rural Organizers on What They Need From Funders.” The scan lifts up voices of organizers on the ground and identifies priorities for the organizing work already taking place. It also further defines the Integrated Rural Strategies Group’s role and intended impact on the landscape of rural organizing. Learn more at www.nfg.org/ruralstrategies.
About All the People, All the Places: In response to increasing concern among funders and advocates about the widening divide between rural and urban America, Wallace Global Fund released “All the People, All the Places: A Landscape of Opportunity for Rural and Small Town Civic Engagement.” The report observes that this divide has indeed strained our nation’s social fabric and damaged public interest policy-making across issues and communities. Importantly, the scan also provides insightful perspective on promising opportunities that advocates and organizers working in rural and small town communities offer to funders investing in positive change. About The Heartland Fund: The Heartland Fund is a new pooled donor fund, initiated by the Wallace Global Fund and The Franciscan Sisters of Mary, that supports diverse local leaders and organizations to promote social, environmental, and economic common cause across racial and urban/rural divides in the Midwest.