A Guest Blog from the Partners for Rural Transformation

Rural Partnership Program is $4 Billion Game-Changer for Rural America

A proposal currently before Congress is a $4 billion opportunity for advancing prosperity in rural communities, and to do so rooted in the local leadership of people who live there. The proposed Rural Partnership Program (RPP) is a game-changing way of investing in local leaders in the most economically distressed rural communities in this country.

It is a critical opportunity for investment in 395 persistently poor counties throughout the United States, the majority of which are rural areas, small communities, and home to a significant population of people of color. Low- and moderate- income communities of color and tribal nations in economically distressed rural areas and small cities for too long have been unable to reach their full potential as existing federal support is fragmented.

Important to note is that RPP funding, if approved as originally designed, can be accessed directly by local leaders, utilized for building collaborations across sectors and geography, build the capacity of local leaders to better access state and federal funds, implement projects over a five-year time horizon. These aspects differentiate RPP from any existing federal program and has the potential to make lasting changes in rural communities so often left out of federal funding opportunities.

RPP funding can facilitate access to healthy food in existing food deserts, clean water, affordable housing, healthcare, and broadband. It is also an important tool to facilitate resiliency to natural disaster and other climate changes, and support local economies that are shifting in response.

In sum, RPP has the potential to reduce existing inequities, create broader access, strengthen local economies, and enable low- and moderate-income individuals to thrive by delivery funding efficiently to high performing locally grounded organizations.

We urge Congress to ensure persistently poor rural counties and small communities receive a significant investment in locally-led community and economic development initiatives by full funding the Rural Partnership Program at $4 billion.

A comprehensive compilation of information about the RPP can be found at

Potential federal Rural Partnership Program: current information page – The Aspen Institute

About the Partners for Rural Transformation
The Partners for Rural Transformation (PRT) is a coalition of six organizations committed to transforming the fortunes and futures of rural and Native communities by centering community needs and hopes in their work. Covering broad and diverse areas—including parts of Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, the Deep South, the Rio Grande Valley, Native American communities, and the rural West—the six PRT partners bring crucial capital and capacity to small communities and towns where persistent poverty was created by design through slavery, genocide, displacement, and resource extraction. With more than 200 years of collective experience investing in the most difficult-to-reach rural communities, the PRT partners have served millions of people. Today, across 25 states, the partners serve 76 percent of the rural counties experiencing persistent poverty in the US. In the rural, persistently poor communities served by PRT members, 43% are people of color.