Rural Democracy Initiative invests in civic and political infrastructure in rural communities, small cities and towns. Building power in these communities is essential to establishing an enduring progressive, multi-racial national majority, and to implementing the policies required for rural and small town communities to have a vibrant, successful future.
We establish multi-year relationships with grantees. We invest in efforts that have the power to change immediate statewide and local electoral, public opinion and policy outcomes, and at the same time RDI extends our impact by building sustainable infrastructure that will support rural people working to transform rural America – and therefore the entire country – for decades to come.
Rural Democracy Initiative is building capacity in four areas by joining national funding with growing local and state-level funder networks to support rural civic infrastructure.
Amplifying the voice and political power of rural people for progressive policy change
Investing in research, content and narrative development, and communications delivery
Maximizing the effectiveness of rural organizations through statewide and regional strategies
Increasing access to critical voter data and software programs that facilitate voter engagement
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In 2020, our 501c4 grants will focus primarily on efforts that have the potential to impact electoral outcomes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with additional funding available for opportunities in other states.
Our nonpartisan 501c3 grants will include a broader geographic scope, and focus on grassroots organizing, community education, civil conversations, census engagement, nonpartisan civic engagement and get-out-the-vote, multi-issue organizing and policy change, and leadership development.
Funding request may include:
Existing local projects with proven track records
High-potential new civic engagement programs
National organizations with programs based in a rural areas
Shared platforms (e.g. a Communications Hub)
Shared assets (e.g. access to voter data and data support, or a shared narrative)
Tools (e.g. relational voter engagement or digital tools)
Organizational support, training, and leadership development
Applicant organizations are encouraged to present a coordinated rural program describing how they will work together to build multiple capacities in support of rural communities. We prioritize efforts that take a race-forward approach to building power.