Current Activities

During the Rural Partners Board meeting on January 7, 2020, Matt Schmitt, Deputy Director for Broadband at the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity made a presentation. We invite you to view his presentation by clicking on the link below!

Matt Schmitt, January 7, 2020 presentation: Office of Broadband – Connect Illinois Program

On December 5, Rural Partners members and guests heard from experts on the 2020 census and its impact on rural communities. We invite you to check out their presentations!

2020 Census Overview and Update
IL Count Me In 2020 Program

On August 20, Rural Partners celebrated our 30th anniversary. As part of the national Partners for Rural America Conference held in Springfield, Rural Partners from across Illinois and the nation heard from panelists on healthcare, broadband, and economic development. That evening we celebrated with a reception. We invite you to take a look at the presentations shared that day as well as the pictures from the event. Thanks to everyone who made our 30th anniversary celebration a success!

To view presentations from this meeting, click on the presenter’s name below to download a PDF of their presentation.

Bill Menner
Charlotte Davis
Christopher Merrett
Jerry Kruse
Kimber Lanning
Matt Johnson
Norman Walzer

JB Pritzker, Governor of the State of Illinois, recognized the 30th anniversary of Rural Partners as a leading community and economic development organization and acknowledges them as a valued contributor to Illinois’ efforts to grow local economies, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for all residents.

Illinois Governor Proclamation for Rural Partners image of documentView the Governor’s Proclamation (PDF)

The activities of Rural Partners are intended to be value-added and not duplicative. Our strength is in our networking and collaborative skills. The following are examples of successes our members have experienced and have credited Rural Partners’ network, leadership training, and /or direct involvement in that success.


A Briefing: Promise & Programs in Rural Illinois1

Population projections show that rural Illinois will face serious issues in the next decade and beyond, with population declines, shrinking young population cohorts, and increasing proportions of elderly that may retire and/or move out of Illinois, closing many small businesses that have provided essential services for many years. This may result in loss of tax revenues needed to support infrastructure, education, and other services important to maintaining local quality of life in some areas.

Anticipating these changes and designing programs to take advantage of resources and opportunities now will help avert more serious issues in the future. For nearly three decades, as the state’s federally designated rural development council, Rural Partners has been a voice for rural Illinois, helping public officials design policies to improve the quality of life and enable rural areas to prosper. Working with the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council (GRAC) and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA), Rural Partners helps state agencies learn about and evaluate ways to advance rural counties and promote prosperity. This policy brief suggests approaches to expand opportunities for successful strategies.

1Not all positions and recommended actions outlined in this paper are shared by members of the Board of Directors of Rural Partners or their agencies and institutions.

Download to read the full twenty-one page brief. (PDF Document)


Partners for Rural America Releases 2019 Annual Report
Click here to read the report.