From the desk of the executive director: strategic plan guides our work

At their most recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Center for Rural Affairs adopted a new five-year strategic plan.

Before adopting the new plan, the board reviewed Center accomplishments and changes over the last 15 years. The new strategic plan builds on past wins, leverages the growing reach of the Center, and provides guidance for the next five years. 

Key elements of the plan are: 

(1) Continue to serve as a national rural leader. The Center has a track record of producing original, nonpartisan and rigorous research. This work is grounded by our staff and board who hail from and have a deep understanding of the places and people we serve. In the next five years, we seek to continue this tradition, while expanding our reach and impact geographically. 

(2) Expand and deepen our engagement with you. Central to the makeup of the Center is our relationship with grassroots community leaders across the country. In the coming years, we will find new ways to engage with each of you to champion change in your communities, in the media, and with policymakers.

(3) Protect natural resources. From water quality to climate change, our work to steward natural resources for the next generation has never been more critical. In the next five years, we will work with you to protect and advance policy as well as take farm- and community-level action to protect natural resources. 

(4) Create opportunity through rural entrepreneurship. Our commitment to ownership and opportunity drive our investment in rural small business. In the next five years, we seek to expand the number of rural entrepreneurs we are able to assist with credit, support, and coaching services.

(5) Apply a social justice framework. Since our founding 45 years ago, the Center’s approach has been rooted in fairness. In the coming years, we seek to ensure that our work is responsive to and includes a diverse clientele and addresses inequality, equity, and diversity in our communities.

(6) Strengthening our internal infrastructure. The success of our work depends on a strong and well-resourced organization, an engaged staff and board, and a strong base of supporters.

With the board’s vote, we commit ourselves to this plan. While the new plan provides high-level direction for the Center, how we achieve each goal will be developed and reviewed annually. 

Do you have input and ideas? Please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.