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Enhancing Civic Life in Small Towns and Rural Areas: Grants Available

A philanthropic organization is set to distribute $10 million in grants to rural communities and small towns in 2024 to support projects that aim to boost civic participation.

The organization collaborates with various entities to fund initiatives for small town entrepreneurs, cultural centers, hobby groups, and public venues, fostering avenues for community engagement.

Currently, the trust is evaluating its initial round of nominations for funding, with a subsequent round of nominations on the horizon.

Charlie Brown, the Executive Director of the Trust for Civic Life, envisions empowering communities to achieve their objectives and cultivate trust among residents, emphasizing the significance of everyday democratic practices.

Brown highlights that democracy transcends political conflicts like “Donald Trump and Joe Biden in an alley fighting it out,” underscoring the value of routine community involvement and the ability to collaborate across diverse social and political spectra.

The report “Our Common Purpose” unveiled insights from listening sessions across 50 U.S. communities, advocating for strategies to bolster American democracy, including voter empowerment, equitable representation, and fostering civic relationships.

Despite existing divisions, the report acknowledges instances of heightened participation and innovation where communities bridge longstanding gaps through collaborative efforts involving various stakeholders.

The Trust for Civic Life emerged from the recommendations outlined in “Our Common Purpose,” particularly focusing on initiatives tailored for rural and small-town settings.

To instill trust in underserved rural areas, civic projects play a pivotal role in engaging community institutions like law enforcement, local government, and educational bodies, fostering a sense of ownership and trust among residents.

The Trust aims to strengthen rural-urban connections by supporting projects that facilitate relationships across geographical and social boundaries, such as collaborations between rural farmers and urban markets or partnerships between healthcare facilities in different settings.

Overcoming challenges faced by rural communities in accessing grants, the Trust employs a nomination-based approach instead of traditional grant applications, reducing the administrative burden on small organizations and streamlining the funding process.

Grants from the Trust for Civic Life are open to a wide range of groups dedicated to community service, including informal hobby groups, with a focus on rural communities and small towns without rigid population criteria.

The upcoming grant cycle, set for the summer of 2024, will emphasize individual initiatives and civic innovation, with funding opportunities of up to $25,000.

Support for the Trust for Civic Life is sourced from various entities, including , the , and .

This article was originally published on and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.image

Sarah Melotte, a reporting fellow for The Daily Yonder, contributes to this content. The Daily Yonder is a nonprofit news outlet offering news, opinions, and analyses relevant to rural America, with Sarah residing in Spartanburg, South Carolina.