Staff spotlight: Molly Malone preserves, promotes, and protects rural America

Small Towns

Southwest Minnesota has always been the heart of Molly Malone’s family. Born and raised in the same area as her parents and grandparents, Molly grew up in the small farming community of Currie.

Molly left home for 15 years to work and study in the Twin Cities and Latin America, earning her Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota with a focus on sustainability in business as well as gaining years of experience in the field. She came back to start a family and found changes to the land she loved that worried her.

Feeling protective of the lifestyle she grew up with, Molly wants to make sure her time is spent working toward bettering rural America.

Now working full-time with the Center for Rural Affairs as a Minnesota policy associate, Molly is able to focus on those things most important to her.

“My work at the Center allows me to play my part in preserving, promoting, and protecting what I appreciate from my childhood—quality local businesses and services that go unmatched by corporations, unlimited outdoor space, and safe, active communities,” Molly said.

Since her return to Minnesota, Molly has developed a deeper appreciation for both the way of life and what the area has to offer, locally and on a larger scale. Through the Center, she works to sustain what she knows and loves about her home for future generations.

“I strive to amplify the voice of rural Minnesotans and facilitate action on issues important to them,” said Molly. “I am naturally curious, and believe everyone I come into contact with has something to teach me. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to listen to my community and get a real idea of what they need, want, and value.”

Molly also speaks Spanish and appreciates having the opportunity to learn more about the needs of Latinos in rural Minnesota.

And, although her focus is on farm country, Molly feels most of the information she produces can be useful in any rural community.

"I hope to increase the awareness and impact of the Center in Minnesota,” she said. “The work I do all stems from a demand from the community. I identify and educate on issues that affect rural communities and build the Center footprint in my state.”

When she’s not working, Molly loves to travel as much as possible and spend time at the lake. She is also a county commissioner in Murray County, Minnesota, which offers tremendous insight into her work at the Center.

Reach Molly at her home office in Currie, Minnesota, at 507.513.8545 or