Partners for Rural America Announce New Leadership and 2019 Ron Shaffer Award Recipient

CONTACT: Jessica AcMoody, 517.485.3588

Lansing, MI – Partners for Rural America (PRA) announced that Jessica AcMoody, senior policy specialist of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM), was elected to serve as the next chair of its Board of Directors. “Having worked in community and rural development for more than a decade, I am thrilled to take on this role,” said AcMoody. “Our responsibilities and mission allow us to directly impact the greatest challenges faced by our members in their home communities.”

Partners for Rural America (PRA) was founded in 1998 to support the efforts of its member State Rural Development Councils (SRDCs), which are uniquely positioned to expand economic and social opportunities for America’s rural communities and their residents, promote equal treatment of rural America by government agencies and the private sector, and provide a collective voice for rural America.  

AcMoody, who is also the coordinator for Rural Partners of Michigan, was elected at the PRA Annual Meeting on August 21, 2019, held in conjunction with the 2019 PRA Conference in Springfield, Illinois. Mr. Jerry Townsend, co-chair of the PRA Nominating Committee, announced her election along with the selection of Ms. Charlotte Davis, executive director of the Rural Maryland Council, for the 2019 Ron Shaffer Award for Collaborative Leadership. 

“The Ron Shaffer Award is given for excellence in building vibrant rural communities through collaboration and innovation,” said Townsend. “Without a doubt, Charlotte has done an exceptional job embodying these values during her time as Chair of PRA.”

The Ron Shaffer Award is given to an individual who embodies the values necessary to build a national and state rural development partnership that meets the diverse needs of rural America.

PRA also exists to support the National Rural Development Partnership (NRDP) and the entities affiliated with it. Our goals:

  • Identify and secure funds to provide general operating support for State Rural Development Council’s (SRDCs) and PRA beyond federal government funds.
  • Identify and secure grants to support increased staffing for member SRDCs and PRA.
  • Serve as a “matchmaker” between member SRDCs and potential funders for demonstration and pilot projects addressing specific issues and challenges.
  • Develop a process by which SRDCs can inform local rural leaders about pending federal policy actions, and feedback can be generated to federal policy makers.
  • Through PRA and SRDCs, lead the development of a coordinated and holistic national rural policy.

More information on SRDCs and Partners for Rural America can be found online at