Measure Up: A Call to Action

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Today, we have a generational opportunity to strengthen prosperity and equity in communities and Native nations across the rural United States. Funders and investors are providing more money and attention to the needs of rural communities than ever before. However, this increased investment won’t have the desired impact without a fundamental reassessment of how we measure rural development and a redesign of the funding pipeline itself.

This Call to Action highlights six principles for measuring rural development progress to open and deepen conversations about better ways for funders and investors to design programs that consider lower-capacity communities’ realities, needs, and goals. 

For each principle, you will find:

  • A summary discussion explaining the principle, background context, and why it’s crucial to rural practitioners
  • A set of key quotes from practitioners
  • A set of Call to Action recommendations for government, philanthropy, and rural practitioners on how to advance that principle in their respective roles
  • One short story that underlines the specific principle

For key takeaways, see the Executive Summary. And for useful resources for measuring rural progress, see the accompanying Annotated List of Resources.

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group