Mission: To effect positive change in rural communities across the American West.
About the organization: Established in 1978, the Rural Community Assistance Corporation works to deliver solutions to rural communities across the American West through five program areas: lending, the environment, housing, Native communities, and community and economic development. The organization partners with communities to help identify needs, establish goals, and select the best tools and options for achieving those goals. In addition, the organization offers capacity-building trainings and resources for community leaders, while its advocacy work focuses on securing access to clean water for rural communities, policies that support collaboration among rural utilities, tribal access to state-administered housing programs, and state funding for housing development.
Current programs: RCAC's lending programs and services include affordable housing loans, environmental infrastructure loans, community facility loans, small business loans, tribal community development loans, household water well loans, and a household septic system program. The organization's environmental program works with low-income Native and rural communities to develop sustainable water, wastewater, and solid waste systems infrastructure, while its housing program supports individuals and communities in the areas of housing development, mutual self-help housing, and counseling.
Services focused on Native communities include the Tribal Circuit Riders program, which works with water operators and administrators to ensure the delivery of safe drinking water on reservations; the Native American Water Master's Association, which brings together utility staff from multiple tribes for peer learning and networking opportunities; and THE (Tribal Housing Excellence) Academy, an intensive training program for organizations working to improve and expand the housing supply and skills of Native housing professionals. RCAC's community and economic development program includes the Building Rural Economies initiative, which works to build the capacity of local organizations to network, plan, and implement economic development initiatives; the Leadership Development program, a fifty-two-hour curriculum focused on the building blocks of volunteer leadership in community development efforts; and WealthWorks West, a learning community organized around an approach to local and regional economic development that brings together community assets to create more sustainable livelihoods for the people who call the West home.
Website: Visitors to the RCAC website can learn more about its programs and services and their impact, explore an interactive map of the organization's environmental and housing projects across the region, or check out upcoming trainings and events. They also can browse news and publications, subscribe to the newsletter, and/or make a donation.
Funding: RCAC is funded by government agencies, foundations, and individuals.