Friday, December 14, 2012

Writer asks: Why have corporations and foundations not embraced rural philanthropy?

"Wonder what happened to the push for rural philanthropy?" asks Rick Cohen in Politico. "It has long been a truism that foundations follow election results. How could they not? On Nov. 6, the majority of voters in rural America cast their ballot for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Rural voters accounted for only 14 percent of the electorate but favored Romney with 61 percent of their votes. That showing obviously doesn’t reflect how the overall election results turned out, so what’s the upshot?"

Cohen writes that rural America also has revealed itself to be less powerful than ever through the failure to pass a Farm Bill, and he wonders how rural has been forgotten by those who owe it for their power. He remembers "when President Barack Obama first took office, (how) a hot concept among savvy political think-tankers was the idea of the U.S. as a 'Metro Nation.' This is the concept of 300 metropolitan regions as the economic engines of the U.S." Cohen writes that he recalls "the excited response of foundations to the Metro Nation concept, even as Metro Nation proponents made the obligatory bromides about the importance of rural America. Nonetheless, the strategy was to focus on metropolitan areas and somehow, with the increasing prosperity of those metropolitan areas, it was thought that rural areas would be carried along."

But, he notes, they haven't. He wonders then why U.S. foundations aren't seeing the connection between putting money into rural America where, after all, their profits emanate in the form of energy, timber and farming, and prosperity for us all. (Read more)

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