RDI Grants Build Power for 2023 and Beyond
Rural Democracy Initiative’s (RDI) 501c3 Heartland Fund and 501c4 Rural Victory Fund are starting 2023 by recommending $1,831,000 in grants to 31 groups, with a deep investment in the consequential spring elections in Wisconsin, fall elections in Virginia, the Farm Bill, and state level budget fights for key rural issues like public schools and elder care. Our early 2023 grants will support organizing, building power, and uplifting our rural communities’ voices. We especially appreciate the commitment of our funding partners to investing in year-round civic engagement and timely support of rural leaders. Please read below for some of the highlights of our early 2023 grantmaking.
URGENT SUPPORT FOR RURAL CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN WISCONSIN
April’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race will determine who rules on voting access, fair maps, health care, the environment, and many other rural priorities. With a large share of pro-democracy voters living in rural communities and small towns, our reach in rural areas will determine the results. RDI recently recommended funding for Action for Climate Emergency, Progress North, WI Native Vote, and WI Public Education Network to ensure our diverse rural voters are approaching their ballots grounded in the values they want to see represented in their state and country.
LEADERSHIP THAT REPRESENTS US
RDI is investing in leadership development and candidate training programs that ensure rural communities have elected officials that truly represent them. This year we’re planning to add a new grantee, She’s Electable, a Nebraska-based organization closing the gender gap in politics. They recruit and support promising leaders, provide training, and connect them to peers, donors, and supporters.
FUNDING NEW WAYS TO ORGANIZE
To build power long term, RDI is partnering with innovative groups developing better ways to organize the community. Empower’s relational organizing software helps communities and organizations build power across the country, including in rural districts, communities of color, and in multiple languages. Funding recommended by RDI will support them towards their goal of hiring 5,000 relational leads in Wisconsin while learning about the effectiveness of different engagement strategies across demographic groups and geographies.
CHANGING WHAT’S POSSIBLE IN RURAL AMERICA
There are many components to building rural power. Whether organizing diverse communities, mobilizing voters, providing community leaders with the tools needed to lead, or learning new ways to engage effectively, RDI is honored to partner with amazing funders and organizations to ensure our rural communities can bring local solutions to the decision-making table. Rural Democracy Initiative’s 2023 work will improve the lives of our community while paving the way for 2024 and beyond.