For decades, people in rural communities have suffered from a lack of investment in our communities. This year and last year, we had two historic federal funding programs: The American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act. These will help us get the care we need and rebuild our economy. But for local and state governments to take advantage of this opportunity, rural leaders and organizations will need to help determine how to spend these funds and also help implement programs.

On April 5, RDI grantee United Today, Stronger Tomorrow led a workshop for RDI grantees and partners. They shared powerful campaigns, nuanced strategic analysis, and ways to use the campaigns to build a base that holds elected officials accountable. 


Summarizing some of the key learnings from the workshop, here are a few ideas on how to get started on these projects. 

1. American Rescue Plan (ARP) vs. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (ILJA)

2. Not sure where to start with an ARP campaign? Determine the availability of funding at the local, county, or state level. The federal government allocated funds to state, county, and local governments, and each body is in a different stage of planning and implementation. Before you get deep into a campaign, find out how much ARP money has been allocated, how much money has been spent and legally committed, or how much has been planned but not committed. You can view federal allocations on the Treasury website and many states have spending plans documented on the NCSL Dashboard.

3. Not sure where to start with an ILJA campaign? Find out about infrastructure and building projects in the works, and review grant criteria (Building Back Better and NACO Analysis).

4. Consider your campaign options and select the one that fits your goals and local context: Fund a new program, stop a bad proposal, increase transparency and engagement, or improve the implementation of a program. 

5. Organize a campaign that builds your base, increases accountability of elected officials, and delivers resources to the people that need them.

Links and Resources