For over 25 years Blandin Foundation has provided community leadership training across rural Minnesota. One thing we’ve learned is that resilient, vibrant and sustainable communities are anchored in the quality and diversity of their connections.
Fifteen years ago, a dedicated group of Appalachian Ohio’s leaders recognized a significant gap in their region. Appalachian Ohio was woefully undercapitalized in philanthropic resources, making it harder for the region’s communities to address challenges and pursue opportunities. The philanthropy gap was standing in the way of community and regional progress so, leaders from across the region created the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO).
Telluride, Colorado is an American success story and one of those communities that re-invented itself from its historical mining origins to snow skiing mecca and destination tourism spot. Telluride is successful, and the Telluride Foundation is a central player in the life and promise of Telluride.
It’s tough running schools in rural Missouri. Tight budgets, strained resources, and dwindling state and federal funding all conspire against students in the Ozarks region, which is designated by the United States Department of Agriculture as an area of “persistent poverty.”
Traveling from Northern New Hampshire to the Fall Conference in New Orleans offered me a birds-eye reminder of the rural-urban connections in our lives. And got me thinking about a slightly different role for community foundations.
Hundreds of miles from urban centers like Memphis, Atlanta, and New Orleans, the five counties served by the Community Foundation of East Mississippi are a textbook definition of “rural.” Cotton was king here years ago, but ever since it left—along with a good deal of the manufacturing industry—many of our region’s 157,000 residents have been trapped in what some experts refer to as “cycles of dependency.” That is why we have been asking our local elected officials to support the Rural Philanthropy Growth Act (RPGA). It’s also why I am attending the Center for Community Foundation Excellence’s (CCFE) Public Policy for Community Foundations seminar this week in Jackson, Miss.
A few years ago, a Guatemalan organization called the Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez (AFEDES), an International Development Exchange (IDEX) grant partner since 2005, discovered something troubling: Its programs were not making much of an impact.
On Thursday, the Council held its fourth monthly Twitter Chat - or #PhilChat - in partnership with the Chronicle of Philanthropy to pose the question: Is Philanthropy Succeeding in Rural America? With more than 30 active participants and 300 tweets, it proved to be one of most successful #PhilChats to date. Not just quantitatively, but in the number of important takeaways for the sector.