Building power toward shared economic prosperity, a healthy climate, and a thriving democracy

From the Ground-Up

Rural Democracy Initiative provides tools and support to rural groups that educate voters, unite communities and create powerful coalitions, write and research policy, and ensure effective implementation across our communities. Our resources help our grantees understand, mobilize for, and influence the policies they care about about most.

We want rural communities to feel the impacts of policy improvements in our everyday lives. We fund national campaigns to advance important rural issues like access to healthcare and lower prescription drug prices, securing the Postal Service, and supporting workers. Our state and locally focused grantees organize to defend core freedoms like reproductive care, accurate education, voting access, and fair representation, while advancing policies like education and child care that build the economy from the middle-out and the ground-up.

Featured Report

Rural Policy Action Report

Priority legislation and executive action that supports working families and strengthens rural communities. The report also highlights the numerous policy successes and the ongoing challenges people in rural communities face.

Report Cover

Rural Democracy gives our grantees the tools they need to transform our communities.

Our Grantees

Reining in Unchecked Corporate Greed

Farm Action and Institute for Local Self-Reliance work led to major policy victories in 2023

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crowd at municipal building

Community Policy Leads to Statewide Shift

Mano Amiga’s bold action to improve the lives of their communities has rippled across Texas. They passed the state’s first Cite and Release Ordinance to prevent needless incarceration, which has been modeled in other Texas municipalities.

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People hold fun signs with I say neigh

Youth Campaign to Protect Right to Abortion Care

Organizers at Loud Light engage young voters year-round, and Rural Democracy’s flexible support enabled them to make a timely shift to preserve abortion access in Kansas. Through a “joyful organizing” approach, they built a youth organizing campaign that harnessed Kansans’ love of horses and horse culture while educating voters on misleading ballot language and other issues surrounding the vote.

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Shared Prosperity

Rural Democracy supports groups working on popular rural issues like farming, clean and low-cost energy, safe and affordable housing, health care, good jobs, and supports for small business. Our grantees protect our communities from many of the worst voter suppression and gerrymandering proposals, and mobilize rural voters to secure voting rights, access to abortion care, and pathways to college for students regardless of immigration status. Rural coalitions have also run successful campaigns to increase the minimum wage, support quality education, and develop tools and opportunities working families need to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Rural Voices Shape Policy

Rural communities are essential in successful statewide and national coalitions, and rural support is essential to passing legislation. Therefore, rural communities must have a leadership role in describing the issues and designing solutions.

Many of our rural policy priorities are also priorities in cities. For example, working families struggle to find affordable, safe, and stable housing in both rural communities and the biggest cities. Yet the specific housing solutions may differ due to access to private capital, limited sewer and water infrastructure, and the scale of resources available to local governments. By supporting rural leadership, Rural Democracy is contributing to successful coalitions that unite across geography with the power to hold government officials accountable.

Nevada state legislators on an agriculture tour hosted by State Innovation Exchange and local farmers.
People’s Action event to Upgrade Medicaid

Rural is Ready for More

Polling shows rural voters support the Inflation Reduction Act, passing a new voting rights act, allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs, and closing tax loopholes on giant corporations. Rising housing costs dominate the concerns of rural voters in many states, and 74% of these voters agree that abortion should be legal. In a recent poll of rural battleground voters, 92% agreed that we should shift government support from corporate agribusinesses to small and independent family farms.

FEATURED TOOL

Rural Policy Action Report

Priority legislation and executive action that supports working families and strengthens rural communities. The report also highlights the numerous policy successes and the ongoing challenges people in rural communities face.

Report Cover