Opportunity Road

December 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

Featuring the experience, wisdom, and savvy of rural America, the Institute’s Community Strategies Group launched a virtual-exchange series focused on rural health and equity: the Rural Opportunity and Development, or “ROAD” sessions. The first explored the pandemic’s effect on minority small businesses with seven Black, Indigenous, and immigrant women business owners and business-assistance providers. The second session looked at rural immigrant and refugee populations with three innovators meeting the needs of rural residents. The third session examined housing, showcasing organizations that address homelessness and housing distress in rural and Indigenous communities. Combined, more than 2,000 people registered for these first three events. A fourth ROAD session promoted National Rural Health Day in November with a look at rural health and opportunity. A project of the Institute’s Thrive Rural, this series is a collaboration with the Housing Assistance Council, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, and Rural LISC, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. ROAD reflects the full diversity of rural America, breaking negative stereotypes about it. As business owner Guadalupe Milan explained in one session: “You need to look at what we are capable of doing, not what is said about us. Take a look at the reality: we are creating jobs.”