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.