Our country is stronger when we invest in rural people and organizations bridging across racial, economic and geographic differences to drive solutions.

Heartland Fund Fuels Rural Progress

The 501(c)(3) Heartland Fund is the first funding collaborative building power toward a thriving democracy, healthy climate, and shared prosperity across diverse communities in rural areas and small cities. As a funding collaborative, we bring together resources from leading philanthropic organizations and individual donors to implement a coordinated strategy.

We support rural people to protect and expand democratic participation and create solutions to critical local and national issues. We invest in the tools rural leaders and organizations need to start meaningful conversations to organize our friends and neighbors, and build diverse sustainable coalitions united by shared values and purpose. On top of grants and investments, we help bring rural folks together through conferences and peer learning, provide useful research and data, and support rural leaders to communicate powerfully about the issues that impact our lives.

Why Rural?

Rural is Ready

Across the country, people in rural communities are passionate about the places where we live and are deeply connected to the people, lands, and traditions that make each of our communities unique. But many of our communities have limited access to affordable housing, quality healthcare, education, essential services, and even the ballot. These challenges have snowballed due to lack of government and philanthropic investment. Rural communities are ready for change, and we are ready to provide working-class folks with the tools and support they need to enact that change for their families.

Seeing Rural

Rural America’s demographics and cultural histories are rapidly evolving; 24% of rural residents are people of color, and many are immigrants. Heartland amplifies new rural voices, ideas, and energy by promoting racial justice and seeking partnerships with groups working in rural communities of color, with young people, and groups leading bold race-forward social and economic justice work in majority-white communities. The changing cultural fabric of rural communities is reflected through the many partnerships and coalitions we help foster.

The Montana Public Interest Research Group (MontPIRG) advocates for public lands, the environment, and renters’ rights.
Farmers work with Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana to practice regenerative farming techniques to advance healthy soil, food, and community.
Alex Spragens canvasses door to door before the election in Buchtel, OH; © Maddie McGarvey 2023, Photo provided by RuralOrganizing.Org

Grantees Spotlight

Rural Ohio Turns Out for Democracy

Anti-democratic policies in Ohio make it hard for voters to shape important decisions that impact their lives. The current legislative majority’s heavily gerrymandered state house maps were rejected five times by the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio also purges the most voters – especially voters of color and young voters – of any state except Georgia. To overcome these barriers, Heartland Fund has invested deeply in rural, small-city, and exurban efforts. Our grantees are a vital part of the coalition fighting for fair representation and core freedoms like the right to reproductive care.


Rural Map and Dashboard

Our Rural Map and Dashboard helps answer the common question: “How do we define rural?” Informed by nuanced feedback from our grantee network, the Dashboard provides rural classifications for each of the country’s census tracts. You can sort by state, county, congressional, and legislative districts. The Dashboard also provides detailed insight into voting trends and demographics.

Map on a laptop

Racial Justice Is Essential To Our Mission

Heartland Fund practices racial justice in action throughout our work.

Rural Utah Project

By the numbers

In 2023 our donors helped us grant millions to groups in areas where rural action will define policy and civic engagement outcomes. Through grants and strategic investments, Heartland provides our grantees with the tools they need to support inspiring leaders, lift local voices, mobilize new voters, and advocate for better government.

$14 mil

in grants

$4.3 mil

in additional aligned funding


organizations across 26 states


of funding for Black, Indigenous, and people of color led and/or serving groups

Discover More About the Heartland Fund

Learn more about who we are and how to support our work.

Tax Deductible Non-Profit

The 501(c)(3) Heartland Fund is the first funding collaborative building power toward a thriving democracy, healthy climate, and shared prosperity across diverse communities in rural areas and small cities. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed under the law.

The grantee work described on this website may describe activities that were not funded directly by Heartland Fund, but provide a comprehensive overview of the impact of our grantees’ work. No funds from the Heartland Fund have been used to conduct any political activity or intervene in any election.


The Heartland Fund makes significant investments across three programs:

Our Grantees

We support diverse groups across the country. We provide tools and support to build capacity and create transformative change in their communities.

Our Grantees→

Impact Report

The Heartland Fund Impact Report celebrates a year of success and growth. It includes lessons from 2023, priorities for 2024, grantee spotlights, and financial and grantmaking details.

Impact Report

Funding Collaborative

Funding collaboratives bring together multiple funding partners to learn together and support a common mission with greater grantmaking flexibility and focused expertise. The Heartland Fund utilizes this funding collaborative structure to combine resources in support of progress across rural America. Funding collaboratives offer a new way of giving that augments the individual capacity of philanthropic organizations and donors.