The Rural Democracy Initiative network includes more than 160 groups in 24 states transforming the lives of people in rural communities, towns, and small cities. We can connect press and content creators with subject matter experts, community leaders, engaging storytellers, and people with newsworthy experiences.
RDI Executive Director Sarah Jaynes
Sarah grew up in a small town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state and began her career organizing on climate issues in rural communities.
She’s been a pioneer in the progressive movement. Sarah led the development of one of the first state progressive donor networks—Washington’s Progress Alliance—and has coached emerging donor alliances from Alaska to New Hampshire to Alabama.
Sarah’s an innovator, obsessed with winning, and may be the nicest person in politics. She’s dedicated 25 years working for shared prosperity, democracy, and a healthy environment. When she’s not working, Sarah is raising four kids and enjoying the spectacular Washington mountains.
- Read Sarah’s take on the 2022 election: The Path to Building Power Runs Through Rural America
- For Sarah’s take on the 2020 election: Rural Margins Matter
- Listen to Sarah’s interview with Nathaniel Pearlman in The Great Battlefield podcast: Building Progressive Power in Rural Areas
- Read Sarah’s Commentary: The Growing Diversity of Rural Leadership
Read More About RDI
- Rural Democracy Initiative’s 2022 Impact Report
- Building Progressive Power in Rural America: Options for Donors strategy brief in Blue Tent
- All the People, All the Places report by Ben Goldfarb
- Can Joe Biden and the Democrats Win Back Rural Voters in 2020? article by Andy Kroll, Rolling Stone
- Rural Margins Matter by Sarah Jaynes, The Forge
- The Importance of Investing in Rural and Small Town Voters by Mike Lux for Rural Democracy Initiative
- Rural Policy Action Report
- Heartland Fund’s Rural Climate Initiative
- Voices of grantees from the Force Multiplier Fundraiser, Rural Democracy Initiative
- “Funders Get Behind New Effort to Create Unifying Economic Narrative for Progressives, Inside Philanthropy”
KEY FACTS ABOUT RURAL AMERICA
RURAL AMERICA IS SWINGY
25-pt swing for rural 18- to 29-year-olds
18-pt swing for rural 30- to 44-year-olds
RURAL AMERICA IS DIVERSE
1/3 of rural counties are at least 25% non-white
1/10 of rural counties are majority non-white
2/3 of rural counties are at least 10% non-white
RURAL AMERICA SUPPORTS PROGRESSIVE POLICIES
64% of rural Americans agreed: “To support rural America, we need to expand Medicare to cover all Americans.”