Founded in 1978, RCAC works collaboratively to build the capacity of organizations that serve low-income people living in the rural west. RCAC’s vision is to create vibrant, healthy, and enduring rural communities
RCAC provides a wide range of services, including technical assistance and training for environmental infrastructure, affordable housing development, economic and leadership development, and loans to support a broad array of community and economic development goals. These services are available for communities with fewer than 50,000 people and are delivered in partnership with the rural communities served.
As a regional leader, RCAC partners with national and regional organizations to deliver services. It is one of six regional partners that comprise the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, which advocates for safe drinking water and the needs of small water and wastewater systems. It is one of four regional organizations providing technical support to the USDA Self-Help Housing network and is a HUD Intermediary and Training grantee in the Housing Counseling Program. RCAC actively partners with the Housing Assistance Council, Rural LISC, and Enterprise Community Partners. RCAC is certified as a community development financial institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of Treasury; has investments from financial institutions, foundations, religious investors, and retirement accounts; and is a member of both the Opportunity Finance Network and the CDFI Coalition.
Nationally, RCAC is an active and passionate advocate for rural communities.
RCAC’s programs and services are informed by core values:
● Leadership: identifies innovative strategies to further rural community and economic
development and inspires partners to achieve great outcomes.
● Collaboration: achieves superior results by respectfully and inclusively identifying and working with partners.
● Commitment: works with passion and dedication to improve rural communities and the
lives of their low-income residents.
● Quality: produces exceptional work products to help its partners meet their goals.
● Integrity: practices the highest professional standards and cultural competency in its work.
RCAC programs include:
• Housing: RCAC provides technical and training support to housing counseling organizations and self-help housing organizations and serves as a developer or development consultant to expand the supply of rural rental housing, including partnering with organizations that lack the capacity to develop on their own. Working with Native Capital Access, RCAC operates a Tribal Housing Excellence Academy (THE Academy) to build development capacity on Native lands. 18 staff work in housing.
• Environmental: RCAC provides assistance to small municipal and nonprofit water, wastewater and solid waste systems. RCAC provides small communities with technical, managerial, and financial capacity building to operate safe, sanitary and sustainable systems. RCAC is also a major source of training for rural operators and boards. Most of RCAC’s recent growth can be attributed to growth in the environmental program, which now has more than 60 employees, and continues to grow.
• Community and Economic Development: RCAC provides community organizing, leadership development and access to resources through the “Building Rural Economies” program that supports communities as they chart their own development goals. The program focuses on place-based asset building and entrepreneurial development that recognizes the resiliency and challenges of rural communities. 7 staff work in this effort.
• Lending: RCAC’s loan fund provides a diverse set of loan products that are responsive to the needs of rural communities including: housing, environmental, community facility and small business loans. In its most recent AERIS 4 stars AA+ rating, the loan fund received high marks for its financial strengths, alignment of mission and impact, and commitment to policy changes. There is high demand for RCAC’s loan products. 15 staff work on lending activities.
• Native Communities: All RCAC services are available to and have a priority to work with Tribes and Native communities. Four programs are designed specifically for Tribes: Tribal Circuit Riders, who work with water operators and administrators to ensure the delivery of safe drinking water on Reservations served and including training through Native American Water Masters Associations, which bring utility staff from multiple Tribes together for peer learning opportunities and to build a professional network; THE Academy, a program with Native Capital Access (NCA) that includes a three year initiative to apply best practices in leveraging resources historically underutilized by Tribes and Native communities to increase the number and type of housing units produced on Native lands; the Rainmakers Collaborative, a partnership effort with Confluence Philanthropy, Native Capital Access and a number of foundations designed to increase the access to capital for the Tribes, Tribal communities and individual Native Americans for small business, housing and community facility projects in Arizona and New Mexico; and the Building Rural Economies program, specifically adapted to work with Tribes and Native people. 22 staff focus their work on Tribes and Native Communities.
RCAC is governed by a diverse board of directors; there are currently 12 members from 10 different states. The board brings a deep commitment to working to empower and improve rural communities, experience in RCAC’s practice areas, and an understanding of the cultural and economic issues unique to communities in the rural west.
RCAC’s estimated annual budget is $20M, with total assets in excess of $100M and net assets of more than $42M. Grants and contracts account for approximately two thirds of the annual budget. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency provide operating support of between $1 and $4M dollars each year. RCAC also receives significant funding from states, particularly the State of California, which provides $4M. Earned income from lending activities account for $4.6M of revenue. RCAC has been successfully diversifying its funding base and federal funding has gone from 85% of the total budget to 60%.
Headquartered in West Sacramento, RCAC currently employs more than 140 staff – an increase of 35 employees in two years. The senior leadership team includes the CFO; Controller; Community and Environmental Services Director; Housing Director; Loan Fund Director; Director Information Technology; and Director Communications, Development, and Events.
In addition to the program areas described, RCAC has a robust communications, development and events staff, who coordinates logistics for more than 300 annual training sessions. The team is responsible for raising more than $20M in program funding and loan capital annually from institutional and other investors. Staff also manages all RCAC communications, newsletter publications, social media and advocacy alerts. 13 staff work in communications, development and events.
RCAC’s Finance Team manages complex organizational finances, grants, and contracts from more than 100 government and private sources. It also oversees additional HR services, which are provided through a PEO (Professional Employment Organization). 21 staff work in finance, grants and contracts.
Approximately half of the staff works remotely in home or satellite offices in 12 states. RCAC values the inclusion of all staff, regardless of their location, and puts significant effort into keeping remote staff informed and engaged.
The search is underway because the incumbent, CEO Stan Keasling, is retiring after 11 years of service. For more information, visit www.rcac.org.