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Community Highlights

Richmond Fed Leader Co-Chairs Rural Learning Community

Man presents at the C.D. System Group

Richmond Fed Senior Community Development Advisor Jason Smith recently helped organize a Federal Reserve System Rural Learning Community workshop for rural-focused leaders from multiple Reserve Banks.

Members of the Rural Learning Community convened in Roanoke, Virginia, on April 11, for a lead-in session to the Richmond Fed’s 2023 Investing in Rural America Conference. The Rural Learning Community is comprised of Federal Reserve staff members who formally connect to deepen their knowledge about, build their capacity to support and use their expertise to shape the Fed’s approach to supporting rural communities. The group explores how to leverage economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income and underserved rural areas, including communities of color. Capital absorption is the focus of one of the learning community’s subgroups, and other areas of emphasis for other subgroups include rural capacity and demographic change.

“The Rural Learning Community meeting allowed participants from multiple Banks to learn together and mutually reflect on their learning,” said Smith, who co-chairs the group with Andrew Dumont of the Federal Reserve Board and Samantha Evans of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

“One of the things that became clear is that we are seeing many of the same themes across rural communities,” Smith said. “Among those themes is the unique challenges that rural communities face in accessing and absorbing the capital needed to move economic and community development ideas to action.”

This Rural Learning Community’s work is complemented by the Richmond Fed’s rural and small-town initiative steering committee, which also met at the Richmond Fed conference.