The Greater Palouse Rural Community Leadership class of 2020 was the first of RDI’s rural leadership trainings to be conducted entirely virtually. As their class project, participants chose a local first campaign that focused on supporting small businesses, and creating a welcoming business culture across the Palouse region. Well-timed for holiday shopping, the “Choose Local First” campaign included advertising locally, creating a small business stimulus, and distributing flyers.
As an element of the campaign, a small business toolkit, action plan template, and implementation guide were created to support and guide Palouse businesses to become more inclusive, diverse, and community-minded and for the community to strengthen their capacity to sustain equitable and inclusive spaces.
Cohort member Christine Gilmore says, “the class was truly a valuable learning experience and a great way to dive deeper into the ability to make change in our communities. I’m proud of the work our cohort put into the project and creating a way to lift our small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized our local businesses and economy and our cohort was dedicated to energizing the population to think differently in their day-to-day shopping. Developing ways to effect community change was a key takeaway to the class. I’m excited to bring the learned skills into my professional life.”
The cohort graduated in December 2020, and they’re continuing to disseminate the toolkit to Palouse-area businesses.
Pictured: Ann & Jim with “Choose Local First” flyer, Homestead General Store, Tekoa, WA