Rural Development: Philanthropy’s Secret to Success

July 27, 2010

At Philanthropy Potluck we love featuring the outstanding work of our MCF members.  Here’s a recent West Central Blogger post written by Kim Embretson, West Central Initiative vice president of development.

How do you create success in rural communities? A small group of foundation leaders from all over the nation have been tackling this question. They have discovered that when you combine the features of economic development, community development and philanthropy you unlock the secret to success.

Often rural community leaders struggle alone trying to build the systems that will make their community successful. Eight years ago, four community foundations all working with rural economic development were brought together as part of an Aspen Institute learning community. They discovered a common thread of activities that influenced the success of rural communities. They decided to work together to help rural communities all over the nation.

West Central Initiative, The Nebraska Community Foundation, The Humboldt Area Foundation in California, The East Tennessee Foundation, The Black Belt Community Foundation, The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, The Center for Rural Strategies, and North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center have formed the Rural Development Philanthropy Collaboration steering committee. They have been able to compare years of experience working with successful rural communities to collect the most effective actions that lead to success.

The Rural Development Philanthropy is no longer a secret. Now the core documents are available for anyone interested in the success of their rural community at  Learn how your rural community or region can benefit from combining economic development, community development and philanthropy.

Grant support from the Ford Foundation, California Endowment, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the community foundations on the steering committee has helped underwrite the cost of meetings and materials to date.

Visit West Central Blogger for more regional community foundation news.

In the Media

July 22, 2009
Photo by Dan..

Ridin' the range and ropin' the headlines so you don't have to.

Your biweekly roundup of media coverage on the world of nonprofit and philanthropy (yee-ha.)

The Unpaid Pay-off of a Between Jobs-Job
(The Washington Post) Writer Vickie Elmer shares how unemployed workers are honing their skills while “on the beach” by volunteering. Her advice for getting the most out of it—have a plan.

Nonprofit Mergers: Putting the Best Foot Forward
(MinnPost) Scott Russell reports on COMPAS and Young Audiences of Minnesota’s merger, and discusses a couple of resources for nonprofits considering mergers.

Region’s ‘Fourth Estate’ Squeezed by Recession, Race to the Internet
(Business North) Community newspapers consider tactics for survival, including one gaining national traction–becoming a nonprofit.  Blandin Foundation warns that the shift to nonprofit is not a cure-all.

St. Paul Pilot Program Seeking More Women and Minority Firefighters
(MinnPost) An EMS Program supported by local foundations, including The Saint Paul Foundation and Otto Bremer Foundation, are searching for female and minority candidates for an EMS certification program.

Young Artists Paint Their Futures through Internships
(Pioneer Press) A five-week course helps Twin Cities teens learn the in-and-outs of being a professional artist. The program was made possible with support from The Minneapolis Foundation.

The Extraordinaries: Will Microvolunteering Work?
(NPR) Microvolunteering is doing good on the fly with your iphone, palm or other mobile device. Cool and innovative yes, but is it effective?

Bill Clinton: Rural Foundation Help ‘Inadequate’
(The Associated Press) Bill Clinton announced at the COF’s Rural Philanthropy Conference that support to rural America is “woefully inadequate.”

How Crazy Are Harry Potter Fans?
(Newsweek)  Remember how the kids at Hogwarts assembled Dumbledore’s Army to fight against the Dark Arts? Well, that’s kind of happening in real life, too. One registered nonprofit run by HP fans wants to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, and genocide.

How to Find the Great Nonprofits
(The Examiner) The GreatNonprofits website strives to be the Angie’s List of nonprofit organizations.

Knight of the Newsroom
(The Chronicle of Philanthropy) Lead by Alberto Ibargueen, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is taking a novel approach to saving the struggling news business.
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Photo CC Dan Nevill