Rural Development Organizations

There are many excellent organizations out there doing rural development - we've complied a list of some of the top ones.

Rural Economic Development

Communities in rural, remote, coastal and northern regions of Canada contribute almost 30% of our country's GDP and help drive economic growth.

Our path toward a resilient, prosperous and inclusive Canada includes improvements to every Canadian's quality of life—especially those living in rural, remote and underserved communities.

Whether it's about housing affordability or access to reliable high-speed Internet, the Government of Canada is helping rural and remote communities thrive and achieve sustainable, long-term growth.

Learn about programs that help rural Canadians take advantage of emerging opportunities and address the unique challenges they face.

Economic Trust of the Southern Interior - British Columbia

The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) uses its $50 million endowment from the Province of BC to contribute to stronger communities in the Southern Interior by helping build a strong and diversified economy. They work with the region’s local governments, economic development practitioners, non-profit business support organizations, post-secondary institutions, industry associations, and accelerators to grow and diversify our region’s economy.

Island Coastal Economic Trust 

The North Island Coast Development Initiative Trust, known as the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), has been at the forefront of economic diversification, planning and regional revitalization in the Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast region for the past 16 years.

The Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute

The Rural Development Institute (RDI), at Selkirk College, is a regional research centre with a mandate to support decision-making by Columbia Basin-Boundary communities through the provision of information, applied research and outreach and extension support. The RDI is funded by Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) through an 8-year partnership agreement which began in 2011. Selkirk College supports the operation of the institute through its infrastructure and specific capabilities, including the Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development (RIC) who serves as the RDI Lead Researcher.


Northern Development Initiative Trust

Northern Development Initiative Trust is a regionally operated economic development funding corporation for central and northern British Columbia. NDIT operates independently from the government and provides the funding and ability to identify and pursue new opportunities for stimulating economic growth and job creation within the regions.


University of Northern British Columbia Community Development Institute

 The UNBCCDI was established in 2004 with a broad mandate in community and economic development. They provide programs and services in four broad areas: community transformation and renewal, research, education, and dialogues and policy discussions. Their work focuses on the non-metropolitan communities across British Columbia’s northern and central regions – communities where more than 80% of the province’s export wealth is generated from natural resources.  The sustainability of these communities is a key factor in the prosperity of the province as a whole.

Center for Rural Strategies

The Center for Rural Strategies seeks to improve economic and social conditions for communities in the countryside and around the world through the creative and innovative use of media and communications. By presenting accurate and compelling portraits of rural lives and cultures, CRS hopes to deepen public debate and create an environment in which positive change for rural communities can occur.

Columbia Basin Trust

CBT is mandated under the Columbia Basin Trust Act to manage its assets for the ongoing economic, environmental, and social benefit of the Columbia Basin region, without relieving governments of any obligations in the region. CBT is also mandated under the Columbia Basin Management Plan to include the people of the Basin in planning for the management of its assets and to work with others to coordinate activities related to the purpose of the Trust.

The Rural Ontario Institute

Established in 2010, the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) was created through the amalgamation of The Centre for Rural Leadership (TCRL) and The Ontario Rural Council (TORC). ROI delivers programs that develop strong leaders who are critical voices around opportunities and key issues facing rural Ontario.

Rural Policy Research Institute

The Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America. RUPRI’s aim is to spur public dialogue, and help policymakers understand the rural impacts of public policies and programs.


Heartland Center for Leadership Development

The Heartland Center for Leadership Development is an independent, nonprofit organization developing local leadership that responds to the
challenges of the future of small towns and rural communities.


The Rural School & Community Trust

The Washington, D.C.-based Rural School and Community Trust is a national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities.


Center for Rural Affairs

Nebraska-based CRA's mission is to establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.


Rural Development Initiatives

Rural Development Initiatives, Inc. is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Eugene, Oregon. RDI was formed in 1991 in response to the timber industry crisis facing the Pacific Northwest. RDI’s programs and services help communities help themselves with effective and results-oriented training and resources necessary for individuals living in rural communities to build and sustain a better future in their communities.



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