Over 100 groups working to improve rural communities.

Invest in a Powerful Rural Network

The Heartland Fund invests in over 100 groups to improve rural communities. Together, we work alongside hundreds of thousands in rural areas, small towns, and small cities to improve the lives of hardworking people.

Featured Program

Rural Climate Partnership

The Rural Climate Partnership advances climate solutions to build hometown prosperity through a rural-led, place-based, and benefits-forward approach. As a grantmaker, we offer more than just funding. We equip rural communities with technical assistance, narrative infrastructure, and capacity-building resources, focusing on empowering rural leaders and organizations.

Colorado Agrivoltaics Learning Center

Heartland Fund gives our grantees the tools and resources they need to transform their communities.

Our Grantees

Decade of organizing bears fruit in Minnesota

In 2023 Minnesota passed an ambitious agenda for widespread prosperity. State legislation included paid family and medical leave, affordable healthcare, and improved access to child care and early education. Minnesota also adopted an important clean energy plan, protected reproductive rights, improved access to voting, and ensured the opportunity for driver’s licenses for all. This profound policy shift was the product of years of organizing by Isaiah and their coalition partners.

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Rural Ohio Turns out for Democracy and Reproductive Rights

Anti-democratic policies in Ohio make it hard for voters to shape important decisions that impact their lives.

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Alaska Grantees Strengthen Democracy

Alaskans transformed their civic landscape in 2022.

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Success

Our grantees have had tremendous success increasing the number of people participating in elections and civic decision-making. We’ve seen the formula for success: year-round organizing over multiple years with focus and scale.

Heartland Fund provides grantees the tools to meet the needs specific to rural areas, and financial support to increase the scale of their work.  We support groups to increase civic engagement, register people to vote, and increase voter turnout while educating people about opportunities to engage on the issues they care about. Groups in the Heartland Fund network develop new leaders, lift up compelling local voices, and engage local governments to unify around shared civic goals. 

Our network embodies the rural ethos: we help each other. Black organizers in Georgia faced the threat of criminal charges for giving water to people waiting in line to vote. Black Voters Matter, Rep GA, and others mobilized to win a 2023 court case. Loud Light and coalition partners are challenging a similar threat in Kansas that puts nonprofits and volunteers at risk of felony charges when engaging in voter registration. Both states continue to push dangerous barriers to voting. Yet, we know that rural people can improve the outcomes when we have the right tools and support.

Heartland Fund is more than just a funder — they are a true collaborator. Our team has benefited from participating in their rural communicators training cohort, and their Rural Policy Report, and are looking forward to working together on federal funding implementation, to name just a few examples. Sometimes rural groups can feel isolated from others in the movement — it really helps to be part of the Heartland Fund network.
Jenelle Ludwig-KrauseGrassroots Organizing Western Wisconsin

Rural Voices

We create momentum that improves the lives of rural people. Years of Heartland Fund investment have created a growing network of trained organizers, trusted messengers, and local leaders with the tools and resources to lead transformational conversations with rural people. By bringing people together and healing the divides in our communities, we create avenues for powerful solutions.

We are support diverse groups across the country with a deep investment in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

US Map
Rural Communicators Cohort

Supporting Progress

Our capacity-building programs help groups to become more effective and sustainable. We provide our grantees access to enhanced voter data and outreach tools, opportunities for learning and collaboration, and ongoing lessons and updates from the field. We also offer an intensive communications training and coaching pilot, new fundraising support, and urgent safety and security resources for organizations and individuals.

Rural Groups Build Power By Solving Problems

As some rural voters become discouraged about politics, more groups in our network are building power by first addressing practical problems in their community. For example, Neighboring Movement in Kansas starts by leveraging community participation in projects like a new child care center, and Latino cultural festival, then transitioning to relational voter outreach. Food AND Medicine in Maine organizes rural working people, starting with food donation and distribution. And West Virginia Can’t Wait’s Hometown Heroes program builds local leaders who provide critical senior services, support for people with felony records, and clothing pantries in local schools. Starting with tangible successes, these community leaders are more effective in tackling policy change and electoral participation.

New child care center opens in Kansas, with support from the Neighboring Movement