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We are changing the political landscape of rural America.

Rural Democracy Initiative (RDI) connects rural leaders with national and regional funders to build powerful, permanent civic and political infrastructure in small towns, small cities and rural areas of the US. Our coalition of rural innovators and funders is working in states where progressive rural civic action will most affect public opinion, elections, and redistricting. We're building sustainable organizations to support rural people working to transform rural America — and therefore the entire country — for decades to come. 

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. The Winning Jobs Narrative is a compelling progressive economic narrative and a blueprint for successful messaging about jobs and work.

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 American Rescue Plan and infrastructure funds can quickly help with broadband, housing, and small businesses.

We know how to win in small towns and rural communities

Rural Voters Surge to Polls - Elect Progressive Leader in Enfield, NC

“Rural spaces are as progressive as urban spaces. It just requires the right message and messenger.”

Winning Jobs Narrative

A narrative framework for working people across race and place

Progressive policies drive job growth, provide opportunity, and build the middle class.

New Resource Guide for State-based Rural Policy

Blueprint for Rural Policy Action in the States

State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and Rural Democracy Initiative created a resource guide for stat

New Rural Climate Initiative Launches with 3 Initial Grants

The Heartland Fund, Rural Democracy Initiative’s nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, is launching an ambitious Rural Climate Initiative to mobilize rural-led solutions to climate change.

Helping Rural Schools to Thrive

RDI Grantee Spotlight: Wisconsin Public Education Network

School districts in Wisconsin faced right-wing attacks, and over 16 recall attempts focused on manipulating and driving hysteria