Rural Connections Blog

  • Community member using a tablet

    Stacking Programs for Strategic Planning & Broadband Buildout

    The Rural Partners Network is helping rural communities create more desirable, livable, and economically viable communities. One strategy is to link rural community projects to multiple funders to “stack” capital. Here’s an example from John Day, Oregon.

    After more than three decades of population decline, this remote town of fewer than 2,000 has taken on a “growth mindset” for both their citizenry and economy.

    In 2019, they worked with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to host a Regional Economic Development Summit (REDS) that brought together local, state, federal, nonprofits, utilities and higher education. They assessed challenges, investment opportunities, and priorities to upgrade housing, broadband, and recreational amenities – all needed to retain and attract families while creating economic opportunities. Local leaders made lasting connections with funders that continue to benefit local projects.

  • Discussion on RPN and supporting local food systems

    RPN Is Expanding the Network!

    It’s been a busy month for our team and the communities currently under consideration for RPN. We drove a lot of miles to meet rural leaders on their turf and discuss how RPN can help them elevate local priorities and jump-start projects.

    We were inspired by the engaged, innovative, and diverse rural people who showed up at the in-person meetings, as well as those unable to attend in person but who joined a virtual meeting instead.

  • photo of rural development employees talking with rural partners

    Three Reasons Rural Leaders are Following the Rural Partners Network

    In April 2022, Rural Development launched the Rural Partners Network (RPN) to give rural communities equitable access to federal funds and opportunities. The RPN is a first-ever, government-wide collaboration of more than 20 federal agencies working together to address gaps in programming, elevate rural issues with decision makers, and create more opportunities for rural people to thrive. This is a tall order to fill, and the progress we achieved so far is making a difference. 

  • Photo of Jackson Mississippi

    An Opportunity for Unified Investment: The Jackson Water Crisis

    The water crisis affecting Jackson, Mississippi has captivated national news while raising the dialogue on racial, environmental equity, and public infrastructure investment. This crisis also highlights a need for collaboration among federal, state, and local government to deliver people-centered solutions for Jackson residents.  

  • blue graphic with two people working on tablets

    Helping Veterans Cross the Digital Divide and Improve Access to Health Care

    Seeing a doctor can be a challenge for people living in rural communities. Whether it’s because of a provider shortage, distance to a hospital, or lack of broadband, it’s not always easy to get care when you need it. That’s why the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it easier than ever for Veterans to access health care.