Philanthropy Daily recently published a piece about rural grantmakers with the punchline, “Quite frequently, it’s the rural funders with modest financial means that make the biggest on-the-ground impact.”
They identify five non-financial assets that small rural funders provide. They:
- Put issues on the table – giving voice to big issues and to those without voices
- Build local infrastructure – provide or purchased tech assistance for local NPOs
- Educate the community – supporting public education campaigns on big issues
- Leverage fundraising capacity – support preparation necessary for bigger grants
- Grow local voices – train and mentor residents to speak out.
We agree. Small rural funders are often the best examples of community-funder partnerships. Some of our favorites include Greater Mankato United Way, K.A.H.R Foundation, George Nielsen Foundation, Northfield Area Foundation, Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation, Red Wing Shoe Foundation, Jones Family Foundation, and of course, regional Initiative Funds, to mention a few.