National Rural Assembly

Sponsor:
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation
Topics:
National Policy, Stakeholder Summit
Location:
Washington DC
Date:
June 2007
Participants:
300

Rural Leaders Advance Rural America

Advocates and leaders from the nonprofit sector, tribal, state and local elected officials, artists, writers, philanthropists and other cultural figures gathered together at the first National Rural Assembly to raise the visibility of rural issues, to organize a national network of rural interests, and to develop rural policy initiatives.

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation sponsored the Assembly, along with more than 100 supporting organizations. The National Rural Assembly was an AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting. The 300 participants represented the breadth of rural America with 43 states and over 250 different organizations focused on rural interests.

Presenters set the stage with research on the current sociological, economic, and political conditions in rural America. Over the course of the multi-day meeting, practitioners identified the assets and challenges of rural America, developed a vision, devised national strategies and explored federal policies.

Groundwork was laid on a series of next steps to ensure follow-through on the outcomes of the Assembly. Over 90% of participants supported or strongly supported the idea of a coalition of working groups to carry forward the work of the Assembly into the debates and discussions that result in rural policy. Four working groups were created (1) Strategic Policy Agenda; 2) Policy Opportunity; 3) Outreach; and 4) Communications Strategy. These groups are meeting regularly to advance a unified agenda for rural America.

Impact

Stakeholders developed detailed national strategies to address the challenges of rural America.  Participants formed working groups during the assembly and have continued to meet regularly  to advance these issues as a national coalition.