What We Do

The Challenge

A closer look at persistent poverty in America reveals how structural exclusion by place and race continues to paint a picture that is steadfastly rural and marred by racial inequity.

These challenges are exacerbated by a history of disinvestment. However, organizations that are part of Partners for Rural Transformation have long track records of rising to such challenges — as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), we are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of local people and places.

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CDFI’S are uniquely positioned to address the challenges of persistent poverty.

As CDFIs, we provide the capital and tools communities need to create conditions where people will thrive, and which people need to build credit, get low-interest loans, find higher-wage jobs, buy their first homes, and build and maintain water systems so people who live in rural communities can build wealth, provide for their families and have hope for the future.

For decades, CDFIs in some of the most economically distressed regions of the country have been successfully meeting the needs of local communities and people to address the challenges associated with persistent poverty. CDFIs bring capital to communities and regions that otherwise suffer from disinvestment; we build human capacity, strengthen local economies and entrepreneurs, improve housing and access to safe drinking water, and empower local people to determine their desired destiny.

While we use our CDFIs as an important tool, we are more than just CDFIs. We are place-based organizations working hand-in-hand with people and organizations across our respective regions to build inclusive wealth, increase local capacity and create opportunities for better livelihoods, health and well-being. We do community development differently – acting across issues and places to identify systems that perpetuate poor economic, equity and health outcomes. We’re also focused on solutions — identifying gaps that can be filled by local people, businesses, local institutions and partnerships to achieve better outcomes over time. We use what we learn on the ground to inform our efforts to advocate for changes in state and federal policy and the distribution of financial capital.

Strategic Objectives

Together, we can reach our ambitious goal of ending persistent poverty in America. Below are the ways we’re working in partnership to make that a reality. We hope you will join us.

Increase Capital

We infuse persistently poor communities with private and public capital to build community assets and wealth.

Strengthen Local Capacity

We strengthen local and regional capacity to implement solutions and to build and influence systems to eliminate persistent poverty in the regions where we work.

Promote Civic Engagement

We help build leadership capacity and political involvement to amplify local voices.

Change the Narrative

We use our collective voice to elevate a new narrative about the communities we call home — one that highlights proven solutions and the value of rural communities.