Principles that Guide How We Work Together

We care about each other. We take the time to show personal interest in each other. We are committed to the success of our coworkers. When they fall down in their work, we help them up. When they succeed, we celebrate their success.

We place service to others over self. We work at the Center to respond to a calling and to make a difference. We often work longer hours and make less than we could elsewhere. But that is offset by the satisfaction of working for the things in which we believe. We work hard and go the extra mile. We focus on what we give rather than what we receive.

The Center is committed to its staff. We provide competitive salaries for the nonprofit sector and excellent benefits. We are attentive to the goals of our staff and help them meet them. We help people to grow by investing in their training. We are flexible in how people do their work. We provide staff the tools they need to do their work well.

We are as committed to internal equity as we are to equity in Rural America. We have a relatively flat salary structure and eschew perks and special privileges for our top staff.

We are committed to shared decision-making. Staff have much control over their own work, coupled with accountability, and input on major organizational decisions. We seek consensus, though when unattainable we make decisions and move on as a team.

We are committed to intellectual rigor. We do quality analysis and we do our homework. In taking stands, we are guided by an honest search for what will advance the Center’s values, rather than by ideology or political winds.

We are courageous. We do pick our fights to maximize our impact. And we do strive to articulate our message in ways that are not misunderstood and that do not unnecessarily alienate people. But when we engage an issue, we do not falter in standing for what we believe. We are willing to take the heat for it.

We are part of Rural America and it is part of us. We do not set ourselves apart to issue pronouncements about what rural people should do or be. Rather, we work with them, engage them, challenge them, develop them, respect them, respond to them and serve them. We strive to speak about issues and do our work in ways they can embrace.

We are practical idealists. We work in service to our values and ideals, yet we are practical in searching for approaches that work in advancing those values and ideals.

We are hopeful, positive and forward looking. We criticize that which is wrong and learn from the past, but we focus on solutions and the good that can be achieved in the future.

Because we strive to change the course of history, we set high standards for ourselves. We strive to make the Center the nation’s premier rural organization and we are committed to continuous improvement – making it and ourselves better and more effective in advancing the values we share.