Earlier this week, the Council on Foundations convened the third Rural Philanthropy Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. While Michigan Rural Network was not able to attend in person, we have been following the conversations arising out of the conference. But from those not currently involved in this field, I usually get the question “What is rural philanthropy and why should I care?” Well, Rick Cohen just answered those questions in his recent piece for the Nonprofit Quarterly entitled “Where Is Rural Philanthropy Heading and Where in the World are its Partners on the Journey?” It’s a terrific summary and I encourage you to take a few moments to read it.
This is quite timely for us in the Michigan Rural Network as we just launched a work group dedicated to rural philanthropy. Over the past three months, we have been whittling away at an idea of how we envision rural philanthropy in Michigan. You are invited to read our concept paper outlining those ideas. We will be working in partnership with the Council of Michigan Foundations to examine how to best build capacity in Community Foundations. We think that rural philanthropy can indeed be a tool for economic development in those communities who choose to utilize it. How about you…what do you think?