Posted By Sheri Holm,
Thursday, October 01, 2009
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Here in Mid-America, we’ve been called the "fly-over states" practically since the airplane was invented. But rural America matters in ways people haven’t even thought of, writes WCI President Nancy Straw in a recent white paper: "Why Rural Matters: The Social Innovation Fund and Rural Innovation."
Here are just some of the reasons cited in the paper:
Rural matters if you care about issues of poverty and race because 245 of the nation’s 250 most persistently poor counties are in rural America and most of the high-poverty rural counties also have high concentrations of minorities.
Rural matters if you care about urban because urban and rural places are inextricably linked within regions—they share labor and housing markets, industry clusters and retail economies, so when one is distressed the other can not live up to its potential.
And rural matters if you care about measuring impact because smaller communities are an ideal test bed for social innovation and modest investments in a rural area can serve a high proportion of those targeted by a specific innovation.
Nancy was invited to submit the white paper to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for review and consideration. The organization is compiling a Notice of Funding Availability for the Social Innovation Fund. Nancy wanted to make sure rural innovation would be an integral part of overall social innovation. She collaborated with colleagues around the nation to compile the document, including consultant Alan McGregor from Asheville, N.C., Dee Davis, president of The Center for Rural Strategies, Whitesburg, Ky., Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb., and Janet Topolsky and John Molinaro from the Aspen Institute’s Community Strategies Group in Washington D.C.
Corporation for National and Community Service
Social Innovation Fund