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Financing Rural Development: Untapped
Potential, Unmet Need, Ample Opportunity

Registration for this event is now closed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | Webinar
2 - 3:15 p.m. (CT) |  3 - 4:15 p.m. (ET)

Faith Weekly

In the United States today, rural communities face unique challenges as well as different opportunities and limitations to achieving prosperity relative to their urban and suburban counterparts. Rural areas comprise nearly 75 percent of the land area of the U.S. but were home to only 51 million people (about 17 percent of the U.S. population) in 2010. Most rural towns have fewer than 2,500 residents. One of the biggest challenges to these communities is that they tend to suffer from poverty disproportionately more than urban or suburban areas.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack argues that the U.S. Department of Agriculture "must help rural communities create wealth so they are self-sustaining, repopulating and thriving economically." Recreation, technology, infrastructure, education and agriculture provide these communities with opportunities to overcome challenges and sustain long-term prosperity. Natural resources from agriculture or mining and recreational activities often play a greater role in local economic development in rural areas, which tend to lack human capital due to low population density and outmigration as a result of limited employment and economic opportunities.

This Exploring Innovation webinar from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis will provide an exciting discussion highlighting the emergence of new sources of financing for rural development.

  • Barbary VanScoy, founder and chief impact investment officer at Community Capital Management Inc., will provide an overview of the organization's new initiative to invest $100 million in bonds financing rural community development as well as the Community Reinvestment Act implications of these investments. CCM is a leader in identifying fixed-income impact investments that are responsive to local community development needs. Rural community development fixed-income investing takes a positive screening approach to identify bonds that finance or support initiatives in rural and underserved areas. Examples of these types of investments within the Eighth District will be highlighted.
  • Toby Rittner, president and CEO of the Council of Development Finance Agencies, will explain the emergence of the rural development finance market and its considerable progress in the past three years. The federal government and some leading rural lending institutions are aggressively pursuing projects. Rittner will provide an overview of several new public-private partnerships to finance rural infrastructure and to facilitate private equity investments in areas of interest, including broadband and infrastructure, agriculture-related businesses, and local and regional food systems. He will also share the details of a new partnership between the Department of Agriculture and CDFA to increase development finance education and resources for USDA's internal staff. The partnership will help to promote USDA funding and other financing best practices for rural communities to CDFA's network of development finance stakeholders.

There is no charge for this event, but registration is required.