Published January 2022 | RESEARCH and PUBLICATIONS

Pathways to Securing Rural Federal Funding

Report explores challenges and opportunities in rural Oregon

For many years, the staff of The Ford Family Foundation have observed that rural nonprofits and agencies have had challenges accessing public sector funding streams from federal and state governments. This pattern was pronounced after the federal COVID-19 relief packages — the CARES Act and ARPA — were passed in 2020 and 2021, and we are concerned that it will persist as the funds from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are deployed. There is an opportunity to access and utilize these funds for the betterment of rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. that we cannot ignore. As we discussed this issue with other organizations and leaders in the fields of economic development and social supports, we learned that the challenges we have been seeing affect small organizations everywhere as well as those serving populations of color.

The Ford Family Foundation asked Sequoia Consulting to undertake research that would add evidence to our anecdotes, analyze the causes of inequitable access to public funds and develop recommendations for addressing the problem. The report presents recommendations generated from interviews, focus groups and surveys with rural-serving economic development organizations.

The top resulting recommendations include:

  1. Create a cohort model of grant-writing/project management teams across Oregon based in existing rural organizations
  2. Establish a pre-planning/engineering, coalition building and grant application grant fund
  3. Establish a federal matching grant fund
  4. Create a live federal prospects document
  5. Provide federal grant-writing training to rural entities


» Full report PDF

Pathways to Securing Rural Federal Funding