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Dear Rural Partner,

For more than 30 years, we at the Rural Center have operated from one key principle: Sustainable, long-term change and vibrant economic growth cannot happen in a community, a small town, or even a bustling metro, without visionary leadership.

But we know leaders are not born fully formed. They are nurtured. They are encouraged. They need resources. They need support. Yet it is in our rural places where visionary leaders may feel the most isolated and most ill equipped to lead their communities to a better and brighter tomorrow.

It is in those very places where the investment in a single individual or group of individuals can have the greatest return. And it is also in those places where the loss of a capable and well-equipped leader can have the gravest consequences.

We at the Rural Center call those individuals our "community spark plugs," the men and women dedicated to the places they call home and willing to do what it takes to drive the local economy in a way that is equitable and enduring.

Now, at the end of 2018, we need your help to make sure our rural spark plugs continue to run in harmony, firing on all cylinders to carry rural North Carolina into a better and brighter new year.

The Rural Center has identified a donor who will match every donation that you make dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, so we can expand our leadership programming and help more of our rural spark plugs. We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Rural Center this holiday season, to help us expand programs that train rural leaders like Randolph Keaton , a graduate of our Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI) and the 2018 Rural Leader of the Year.
Randolph Keaton, 2018 Rural Leader of the Year
"What I’ve gained through REDI are connections. If I need something here in my rural community, I’ve got someone I can call on."

Randolph Keaton
2018 Rural Leader of the Year
Your specific donation will help expand Homegrown Leaders , a new leadership program that promotes regional collaboration and problem solving; that gets rural leaders in the same room, talking to each other, sharing ideas, and gaining a common comprehensive framework for rural economic development. Your donation to Homegrown Leaders will help us take our leadership training on the road and out into local communities, working directly with rural leaders in the places they call home.

Your support and partnership is critical to our work and critical to the future of rural North Carolina. Please consider making an end-of-year donation to help our state’s rural leaders.

I thank you. The Rural Center thanks you. And the next generation of rural leaders who will change this state thank you.

Patrick Woodie
President, NC Rural Center

To learn more about the Rural Center’s leadership development programs or to read more of our profiles in innovative rural leadership, visit the NC Rural Center website at www.ncruralcenter.org .