|David Dangler, |
director of Rural Initiatives
The NeighborWorks Rural Initiative in 2012 is a far cry from the dozen or so rural groups who came together in the early days of the NeighborWorks network. Now there are 91 organizations participating in the Rural Initiative – and they include many of the network’s most productive members. In 2011, Rural Initiative members made direct investments into their combined communities of over $1.574 billion in 45 different states. When we drill down into the statistics, we find the Rural Initiative members are consistently in the top 25 producers in the NeighborWorks America network. This is supported by the data below, taken from a recent report on the NeighborWorks America Network entitled "It Takes a Network." All data is for 2011.
Another key element of the Rural Initiative network’s success has been collaboration across markets and lines of business. For example, we’ve been working closely with CFED and the Ford Foundation to create asset-building opportunities with factory built housing in rural and urban environments. These efforts have supported two of the most innovative and impactful social enterprises in the community development field ROC USA and Next Step. ROC USA helps residents purchase their manufactured home parks from absentee owners, and Next Step helps to replace substandard manufactured homes with Energy Star rated factory built homes. To succeed, both ROC USA and Next Step rely upon the NeighborWorks network for key lines of business – community building and organizing, home ownership education and training, rental property development and management and affordable lending.
|Members of the NeighborWorks Rural Initiative, Rural LISC|
and RCAC at the June conference in Visalia, California
Looking ahead, we’re excited about expanding our asset-building strategies to include rural rental housing and a range of green applications that will be good for both built and natural environments. I’ll be writing more about these efforts in future blogs so stay tuned. You can subscribe by entering your email in the right side of this page.