Bill Clinton Calls for More Rural Philanthropy

According to former President Bill Clinton, foundations need to do more to help rural parts of the country, the Associated Press reports.

Speaking at the recently concluded Council on Foundations conference on rural philanthropy, Clinton argued that "foundation activity in rural America has been woefully inadequate." To address the shortfall, Clinton suggested that nonprofits serving rural areas could do more to advocate for additional foundation help and should look to partner with organizations in urban areas.

Clinton, who was born in rural Hope, Arkansas, noted that anti-obesity efforts and programs to promote reforestation could benefit rural areas, and he urged rural communities to consider investing in alternative energy such as wind and solar power to create the jobs that so many communities desperately need. "We can beat up on people and say they should give more money in rural America," Clinton said, "but we should give them some new ideas."

Clinton also argued that one of the best things charities in rural areas can do is create hope for the people living there. "Why do you think people in rural America are so dismal?" Clinton asked. "Because they think that tomorrow is going to be just like yesterday. It's not because they're poor, but because they're stuck in a rut they can't get out of."

Andrew DeMillo. "Bill Clinton: Rural Foundation Help 'Inadequate'." Associated Press 07/14/2009.