LISC's CEO explains the how and why of the LISC Rural Promise , our organization-wide commitment to achieve 20 percent of our community development impact in rural America over the next three years.

The goal of the LISC Rural Promise is to lift our community development impact in rural communities to 20 percent of our entire impact by 2023. How will we measure that? 

We track this impact data already, but we are refining the way we track it. We will hold up our numbers and measure how much change we effect in rural markets and how much in the urban market. It’s important to remember that this is not about diminishing our impact in urban markets, but about increasing it in rural ones, and making sure the number of housing units, jobs, facilities, etc. is proportional to the population and the demand in those places.

According to the USDA, just six to seven percent of philanthropic investment is dedicated to rural America, and overall U.S. investment is not nearly proportional to the population there. How can we appeal to funding partners to help us shift that trend? 

The case to be made is in large part a business case, and a matter of common sense. Rural America is absolutely critical to a competitive America. Twenty percent of the population still lives in small towns and rural communities, and the assets there are incredible: from abundant, inexpensive land to the affordable cost of living to the work ethic of folks there and the sense of community. If we could really convince the country to make a major investment in, for instance, broadband infrastructure, the ability to do business there would dramatically expand.

We need to keep hammering these points home and continue to make that business case to philanthropy and the corporate sector. I am confident we can do that and inspire new partners to join us.

Read the full article about rural development at LISC.