Thrive Rural Framework

We imagine a future with thriving, prosperous rural communities and Native nations where each and every person belongs, lives with dignity, and thrives. The Thrive Rural Framework is a new tool to help you take stock, target action, and gauge progress on equitable rural prosperity. 

Rural communities and Native nations are integral to our entire nation’s economy, our culture — and our future. One in five people in this country live in rural places, and one in four of those rural residents are people of color. Our current and future sources of water, energy, and food are inherently rural, and people raised in rural communities provide essential leadership and workforce for both rural and urban America. 

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Aspen CSG worked with two advisory committees, numerous local and regional organizations, national networks, and research partners to create this framework. It truly weaves current community innovations and tested approaches for working together on critical issues to achieve equitable rural prosperity – from health, economic development, environmental stewardship to civic engagement.  

The framework calls for an asset-based approach and working across local and system levels of change to clarify and address the underlying factors that must be true to create prosperous rural communities. Critically, the framework confronts and seeks to address the reality that people in rural communities and Native Nations face unique types of systemic discrimination due to race, place, and class. 

We invite everyone invested in the prosperity and wellbeing of rural communities and Native nations — from local leaders and organizations to philanthropists and policymakers — to utilize the framework as the starting point of a shared approach or as a way to engage on vital issues.