The Center for Rural Virginia is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization established by the Virginia General Assembly in 2004.  The creation of the Center was a recommendation of the Rural Prosperity Commission, created by the General Assembly in 2000. The goal of the Commission was "Prosperity for all Virginians".

Type of Organization Non-Profit
Primary Contact  Christy Morton 
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Mission: support the efforts of its member State Rural Development Councils (SRDC’s), which are uniquely positioned:

  • To expand economic and social opportunities for America’s rural communities and their residents;

  • To promote equal treatment of rural America by government agencies and the private sector;

  • To provide a collective voice for rural America.

Issues of Focus: 

  • Economic Development 
  • Workforce Development and Education 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Healthcare
  • Leadership and Community Capacity 
  • Regional Assets and Opportunities


  • Policy Development and Advocacy: The Center and Council for Rural Virginia work to advocate for policies at the federal, state, and local levels that provide the best opportunities for community prosperity to rural communities throughout rural Virginia. Working with members of the Virginia General Assembly's Rural Caucus, the Center and Council develop and advocate for a legislative agenda to ensure a level playing field for Virginia's rural areas and create opportunities for increased economic and community development within these communities vital to Virginia.
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The  Center and Council work to support entrepreneurial initiatives throughout rural Virginia. The mantra "make a job, not take a job", has great meaning in rural areas of the Commonwealth.  Expanding upon the talent, intellect and vast opportunities of the skilled workforce throughout the Commonwealth provides great opportunities for entrepreneurs in rural Virginia to be innovative and start small businesses to expand upon self and community employment. 
  • National Trends and Best Practices: Center and Council leadership are engaged with national organizations to bring the latest, brightest and most successful programs to rural Virginia.  Work with Partners for Rural America (PRA) and the Rural Policies Research Institute (RUPRI) allows the Executive Director to share best practices and successful initiatives from national, state and local policy makers and practitioners from around the country with rural Virginia communities.
  • Research and Data Attachment: Through partnerships with some of Virginia's finest universities and colleges, the Center and Council are able to fill the gaps in research needed to address some of the biggest problems in rural areas of the Commonwealth.
  • Strategic Public/Private Partnerships: Strategic partnerships are vital to rural prosperity.  The Center and Council work with public and private sector stakeholders to develop partnerships and initatives to further prosperity in rural communities.  State, local and regional cooperation and  partnerships are vital.  The Center and Council work with stakeholders to develop relationships and facilitate partnerships to solve problems and expand upon opportunities for economic and community development throughout rural Virginia.
  • Leadership Development: Prosperous communities begin and end with a slate of leaders willing to give their time, attention and in many cases careers to improve their local communities.  The Center and Council work with current and future community leaders to develop programs that encourage the young, old and all in between to stay in their communities, invest in its success and play a vital role in the ultimate prosperity of their town or county long term.

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