Financial Aid: If you’re a leader in a rural school district, or a state policymaker or journalist looking for guidance on court decisions about school finance, you’ve now got someplace else to turn.
The Rural Education Finance Center, based in Raleigh, N.C., is open for business. Founded by the nonprofit Rural School and Community Trust in Washington, the center plans to fight for more resources in rural schools. More than 20 states have active school finance lawsuits, many of which involve rural districts.
“The forces of inequity never rest, " said Marty Strange, the Randolph, Vt.-based director of policy for the Rural School and Community Trust. “Rural people aren’t always at the table.”
Gregory C. Malhoit, the former executive director of the North Carolina Justice and Community Development Center, is the director of the new finance center. He sees his job as a chance to move his previous work—at a policy-research and advocacy group focused on rural and poor communities—to a national stage.
Mr. Malhoit’s goals include: helping rural areas push for what they believe is more equitable funding; support research on school finance that can be used in court if needed; promote sound practices in managing local school dollars; provide legal support; and monitor and report on school finance policy nationwide.
To find out more about the Rural Education Finance Center, check www.ruraledu.org; send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; write Mr. Malhoit by regular mail at 3344 Hillsborough St., Suite 302, Raleigh, NC 27607; or call (919) 833-4541.
Granting Assistance: Rural organizations have a new source where they can seek grant money: the National Rural Funders Collaborative.
The Dallas-based group represents seven private foundations seeking to collectively provide $100 million over the next decade to stimulate revitalization and reinvestment in rural America. They are the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the F.B. Heron Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Their goal is to “attract and sustain long-term investments, not short-term contributions, in rural America,” said Jim Richardson, the executive director. The collaborative is seeking proposals through September. For details, see www.nrfc.org. Or call (214) 946-2456.