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, narrative development, and communications delivery as well as fighting disinformation.
Maximizing the effectiveness of rural organizations through statewide and regional strategies
Registering, educating, and mobilizing rural voters for local, state, and federal elections as well as defending access to democracy and fair representation.
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Our 501c4 grants focus on projects that will impact legislative, and political outcomes. Projects include:
Candidate development and leadership pipeline work
Deep canvassing and relational organizing
Voter persuasion efforts
Political research and message development
Our nonpartisan 501c3 grants fund:
Nonpartisan civic engagement and get-out-the-vote
Multi-issue organizing and policy change
Communications: messaging, media, platforms
Funding requests may include:
Existing local projects with proven track records
High-potential new civic engagement programs
National or state organizations with programs based in 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
RDI encourages applicant organizations to present a coordinated rural program that describes how organizations will work together to build multiple capacities supporting rural communities. RDI grants prioritize efforts that take a race-forward approach to building power. To learn more about RDI and our grantees, see the RDI 2021 Impact Report.