“A county in Mississippi with a 28 percent poverty rate is about to boast the state’s first and only year-round, fully accessible camp for disabled children and adults. A rural county in South Carolina will soon have a dedicated high school to prepare students for health careers. In South Dakota, dilapidated school buildings in a county that’s 43 percent Native American are to be transformed into state-of-the-art facilities,” writes Justin Maxson, Executive Director, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in an op-ed piece that appeared in the July 11 issue of Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Throughout the op-ed Maxson makes the case for deploying more assets to rural America through CDFIs. He highlights their unique role as “local experts who know what their neighbors need and who have the relationships and knowledge to tailor solutions to specific challenges in their communities.”
Maxon bemoans the lack of investment and neglect that has led to generations of poverty in rural areas. In the op-ed, he calls on philanthropists to make a shift in how they work, saying “One way to make a huge difference is for grant makers and the government to better tap the role of community-development financial institutions as key players in deploying more assets to rural America.”
UpLift America recently published progress report, which Maxon cites, about CDFIs and the wide range of projects underway in rural America. This program is supported by The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.
Read his commentary in full here.