Sometimes when you are writing a grant for a rural organization it can feel a bit like David and Goliath. Urban communities have more research done on them, more data to back up the challenges a community faces and more organizations to collaborate with. Organizations working in rural communities (I’m preaching to the choir if you are still reading this blog) can feel isolated and it can be difficult to craft a message that can compete with your urban counterparts. With that in mind, here are some tools for your rural resources toolbox.
Great article from Census Department outlining the differences between urban and rural communities: www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-210.html. The article has a number of citable gems for establishing why rural residents face difficulties when trying to address social justice issues such as housing, food, and education. Along the same lines, an article posted by The Conversation.com outlines four major differences between rural and urban communities: https://theconversation.com/six-charts-that-illustrate-the-divide-between-rural-and-urban-america-72934
Sites with Great Information About Rural America
- DataUSA ( https://datausa.io) has the option of comparing two municipalities/states/country. It’s a great way to make a compelling case for a higher rate of poverty.
- One of my all-time favorite sites is USDA’s Economic Research Service (https://www.ers.usda.gov). The site is a bounty of helpful fact sheets, charts and maps.
- Each state has a Cooperative Extension network which is always a great information for grant applications, annual reports, and donor marketing material. Here’s an example of some of the information that New York State’s Cooperative Extension offers: https://pad.human.cornell.edu/atcornell/index.cfm
Rural Advocacy and Technical Assistance Organizations
There are some wonderful, visionary, data-driven advocacy groups out there who can provide technical assistance and resource material to help you frame your grant application and evaluation plans. These are great sites to have bookmarked and to check in on periodically for new programs tools and articles about rural America:
- Rural Community Assistance Corporation https://www.rcac.org)- specializes in rural
Lending, housing, community and economic development, assisting native community and addressing environmental issues.
- Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (www.rurallisc.org)
- Center for Community Change (https://communitychange.org)
- Rural Assembly https://ruralassembly.org/about)
- Center for Rural Strategies https://www.ruralstrategies.org
Hopefully, these articles, tools, and organizations can help you craft a narrative that outlines the challenges rural communities face as well as highlighting the assets that rural America has when addressing challenging social justice issues.