We are changing the political landscape of rural America.
Rural Democracy Initiative (RDI) supports rural people working to transform their lives and communities in service of shared prosperity and democracy. We invest in permanent civic engagement, issue advocacy, community organizing infrastructure, and sustainable urban-rural coalitions. In addition to grantmaking, RDI also supports rural leaders and organizations through convening, research, and communications.
With everything at stake this year, we are increasing our grantmaking while carefully targeting our investments in places where rural action will define policy and electoral outcomes. We regularly convene grantees to share what’s working and innovations. We match groups in our network with technology platforms, research, and other resources to enhance their success. Learn More
RDI is investing in research, content, and narrative development while building a collaborative network of communications platforms with credibility in rural areas. Learn More
The RDI network helped pass many of the priorities in our Rural Policy Action Report, including programs for public health, economic recovery, and protections for working families. Our grantees are working with local officials to ensure that federal funds can quickly help with broadband, housing, and small businesses. Learn More
We know how to win in small towns and rural communities
In late April 2023, Rural Democracy Initiative met with over fifty rural advocates in Omaha, Nebraska to identify key federal and state policies designed to support rural people and the places they
"The grant from the Heartland Fund to Poder NC Action will contribute to the building and sustainability of permanent and solid organizing infrastructure with and for Latinxs in rural North Carolina. Poder will be able to live into the legacies of North Carolinian youth organizing that leads to transformative community change, one rural community at a time."
Irene GodinezFounder, Poder NC Action
"With RDI support, We The People - Michigan can add organizers who are building power linked across rural and urban communities in Michigan to challenge the divide-and-conquer strategies of the Right."
Art Reyes IIIExecutive Director of We The People Michigan
"RDI helps me and other donors produce the highest return on investment in building civic and political infrastructure in rural communities, by helping leverage local, state, and national funds to match my investments, and also by providing expert guidance on which local organizations are in the position to have the biggest impact."
"In 2018 local rural groups, first time candidates, and grassroots efforts stood up for a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. The swing in rural America toward more progressive candidates and ideas was larger than any other geography (6% overall). Imagine if they had the sustained help of national resources and a coordinated political program."