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Our Story: Changing the Narrative of Persistently Poor Rural Places

It’s time to change the national conversation about poverty and economic mobility in the US. Partners for Rural Transformation (the Partners) is proud to be one of 28 grantees from the Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge that will confront and address misconceptions about who experiences poverty and the systemic barriers that stand in their way. 

As part of this project, the Partners will share the stories of people living in poverty across geographically, culturally, and racially distinct rural communities to highlight shared experiences and encourage their unification to reshape narratives and drive policy change. 

Misconceptions and damaging stereotypes of people in poverty have fueled divisive conversations about race and class, diluted the power of those living in poverty and detracted from the underlying systemic causes. Together, we will ask residents in diverse areas of persistent poverty – from the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, Native American communities, the Deep South, the Rio Grande Valley and regions in the Rural West to document the stories of their experiences, share them with other regions, and analyze the effect of this storytelling effort on changing attitudes to poverty.

By sharing our diverse stories of resiliency and innovation, we will build a narrative of hope and respect for the places we call home and build political power for communities that have been historically left out in our political discourse. 

Read the full press release here.
Watch a short video from leaders of the project here.

The Grand Challenge is funded by eight philanthropic organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Omidyar Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Schulz Family Foundation. Thank you for your support!

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