Rural Philanthropy Growing Across U.S., Report Finds

Amid dwindling government support and declining populations, grassroots philanthropy has raised billions of dollars for healthcare, education and community support in rural areas, according to a report commissioned by New Ventures in Philanthropy, a Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers initiative.

According to Ellen Barclay, president of the Forum, only three percent of assets from traditional foundations are directed toward rural areas each year. This has given rise to a 132-percent increase in community-foundation affiliate funds — local philanthropic funds created by specific communities to serve their needs. Three-quarters of these serve rural communities, with estimated assets of $1.5 billion.

More than 2,000 of these funds exist across the country, the report indicates. To facilitate the growth of these rural organizations, the Forum's New Ventures in Philanthropy initiative has created an online Rural Philanthropy Knowledge Center with a how-to guide on the process of starting a rural fund.

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