National Rural Leadership Development Inventory

Frequently asked questions

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is seeking to learn more about the efforts and initiatives that help grow leaders in rural areas across the country. This starts by collecting the names of organizations and people that are developing rural leaders, and identifying their initiatives, challenges, and best practices.

If this link was sent to you, your organization has been identified as a rural leadership developer and we would love to hear from you! If you have found this link independently, we may still want to hear from you. Please take the time to consider if your organization is working towards rural leadership development.

Probably! A key component of this effort is trying to understand both formal leadership trainings as well as informal ways that leadership is learned in rural communities. This means that we are taking in responses from programs as diverse as pilot training programs, to community gardening initiatives, to faith-based efforts. So, if leadership development is only a secondary result of your work, we’d still love to hear from you!

Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) is a well-established nonprofit that strengthens rural people, places, and economies in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1992, RDI has worked to develop networks of rural leaders, revitalize rural economies, and elevate rural voices and priorities. RDI holds the uncompromised belief that answers and priorities, driven by local people, are key to achieving rural community prosperity. RDI has trained, planned with, and supported over 8,000 rural leaders, and convened over 3,500 people at ten Regards to Rural conferences. RDI is coordinating the Rural Leadership Pathways Learning Initiative, an effort to inventory rural leadership development efforts, understand innovative approaches, and connect philanthropy to rural places. To learn more, visit

Support for the Rural Leadership Pathways Learning Initiative is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. For more information about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, visit their website.

Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) and its partners will select a diverse group of representative programs across the nation to participate in two Rural Ideas Summits to share ideas. In addition, everyone who responds will be given access to any final research conducted using the data and will be given opportunities to connect with other organizations that get involved. A goal of this research is to develop a list of best practices as well as create opportunities for cross-organizational learnings.

Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) is fortunate to collaborate with a number of partners in implementing the Rural Leadership Pathways Learning Initiative, including The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, Brushy Fork Leadership Institute, Heartland Center for Leadership Development, Hope Nation, MDC, Philanthropy WoRx, Prichard Communications, and Roanhorse Consulting.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact Nathan Davis of Rural Development Initiatives at or (309) 657-8876.