Current Activities

Group photo of Rural Partners members.

Rural Partners board and members visited Mattoon on May 14, 2019 to learn more about Mattoon in Motion and the community and economic development work happening in the Eastern Illinois community and surrounding region. Following the Rural Partners regular business meeting, attendees heard from Mattoon Chamber of Commerce executive director Ed Dowd, Americorps/Peace Corps Fellow Carlos Ortega and WIU Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs Director Chris Merrett about the impressive work happening in the community. Mattoon in Motion recently received a community development grant supported by Google.

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 2017 Annual Report
Click here to read the report.