Funding Rural Podcast

Funding Rural Podcast2024-06-11T10:42:20-07:00

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Why Rural Funding?

Podcast Host Erin Borla Explains

When I started at Roundhouse Foundation as a staff member in early 2020 I started reaching out to other partners in philanthropy to introduce ourselves and talk about collaboration and partnership.I kept hearing the same things, especially from larger funders: You work with rural communities?  Why? How do you even do that work? You’re the only organization we know that focuses on rural spaces.  You work with Tribes?  Are you really doing that work?

When I heard questions like that time and again, it said to me the stories of community, of hope, of resilience weren’t being heard; like they didn’t matter. The stereotypes that continue to be perpetuated – from even the highest levels about rural America – that hurts my heart. And I learned something, Roundhouse’s style – just picking up the phone, having a conversation, driving to these places, and building relationships with organizations and their staff doing the work – was not normal in this field.

Only 7% of Philanthropic Dollars Goes Toward Rural America

In the latest study as shared in this FSG report in 2021 (2021) only 7% of philanthropic dollars, nationally, goes toward rural America. Of the approximately 125,000 private foundations and approximately 125,000 corporate foundations across the country distributing close to $5B annually. And another sobering statistic is only .4% supports Native-led or Native-serving projects (Native Americans in Philanthropy 2019). Let’s put some numbers on that – the rural Mississippi Delta receives approximately $41 per capita from philanthropy; versus over $1900 in New York City (2017).

Numbers like these helped me have a better understanding of the rural ‘divide’.

Read Erin’s full story>

Giving Back: It’s how I was Raised

When I think of philanthropy I can’t help but be drawn back to my childhood. Philanthropy is a big word – but giving back to community – that’s how I was raised. I grew up as a 4-H kid; going to the county fair and showing my horse, Texas; raising market pigs for sale and entering (terrible) articles of clothing I’d sewn – all for the week of fun we got to have every August. I worked hard all year long for that week – but what was most important was the group of folks I met along the way.

Each of whom knew the world was bigger than how well they did, how their child performed or the money they made at market – it was the growth, the leadership development and the support of young people. We leaned on each other – and our community for support, education, expertise and to lift each other up when we needed it. That’s philanthropy to me.

Continue reading Erin’s story about being raised rural>

Funding Rural: A podcast about how philanthropy can better serve rural communities and spark systemic change.

Latest Podcast Episodes

Explore the latest in rural philanthropy on the Funding Rural Podcast with show host Erin Borla.

Episode #17: Kicking the Door Open with Erik Brodt, MD

June 17th, 2024|

Erik Brodt, MD (Ojibwe) knows that there are experts all around us — many of whom go unrecognized.  As a Native American Healthcare provider he works to ensure that American Indian/Alaska Native youth know they have a place in health care.  He challenges philanthropy to look beyond the typical expert, to ask questions differently, and to spend time getting to know the impact of programming —what and whom — thinking beyond the traditional model of scalability.

Episode #16: Roots and Shoots with Jamie Bennett

June 7th, 2024|

Jamie Bennett is a force to be reckoned with in the art world. He is currently co-CEO of Americans for the Arts and has served at the helm of ArtPlace America, United States Artists, and National Endowment for the Arts. All of these opportunities have helped him understand and encourage the importance of artists and culture bearers in all communities. Creatives are leaders, problem solvers, and models for improving relationships with one self and the community at large — which boosts mental health and prosperity. Yet so few Americans identify as an artist that Jamie asks the question – who gets to call themselves an artist?

Episode #15: Storytelling Can Be Dangerous with Torsten Kjellstrand

June 3rd, 2024|

Torsten Kjellstrand, a Swedish immigrant, has always looked for the stories of the underrepresented.  Now as a Professor of Practice at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Kjellstrand uses his background in rural journalism to teach the next generation of media about authenticity and care for the stories that are told  because as he says, ‘storytelling can be dangerous.’

Episode #14: Building Collaboration with Brenda Smith

May 27th, 2024|

Philanthropy talks about collaboration regularly - Brenda Smith with High Desert Partnership lives it every day. She and her colleagues work to build common ground and relationships between seemingly disparate stakeholders in rural Harney County, Oregon. Collaboration is fostered and supported from the ground up; and comes from all sides. This was especially evident in the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in 2016. The narrative of that event as well as the story about rural Harney County and it's residents, was told in mainstream media, yet the local perspective was not included.

Episode #13: All Funders Are Disaster Funders with Cari Cullen

May 20th, 2024|

During times of crisis, we often see the disparities in community resources, especially in rural and remote communities. Cari Cullen from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy offers ways philanthropy can and should be showing up in the communities we serve during and after disasters. Cari reminds philanthropists it’s not ‘if’, but ‘when’, with disasters. Funders need to plan ahead, in partnership with government agencies and community stakeholders. And perhaps most importantly, we need to be listening for what the communities actually need. 

Episode #12: Reconstructing Rural Policies with Tony Pipa

May 9th, 2024|

Over the past few years federal funds have increased to rural communities, but how are they actually getting to those communities? Tony Pipa, a Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, shares programs, leads the Reimagining Federal Rural Policy Initiative and hosts the Reimagine Rural podcast. In this episode, he demystifies the federal government and its resources, and talks about the need for a rural renaissance to ensure the available funding for rural and remote communities makes it to those on the ground doing the work across rural America.

Episode #11: Managing the Egosystem with Belinda Brown

May 6th, 2024|

Belinda Brown has spent over 30 years providing leadership, developing programs, and facilitating community development in Indian Country. She has expertise in intergovernmental affairs coordination with Tribes, communities, and collaboratives. An enrolled member of the Pit River Tribe, Belinda’s varied experience links back to a consistent theme: supporting young people. Her current role with Lomakatsi Restoration Project helps to align young Indigenous and rural youth with workforce training related to cultural practices —and just at the right time.

Episode #10: Deconstructing Unicorns with Margaret Hoffman

April 26th, 2024|

Margaret “Margi” Hoffman is a woman of action – not something commonly thought of when talking about Government officials – and yet she now serves as the Oregon State Director for Rural Development of the USDA. She is looking creatively at ways her role can support the state of Oregon and its rural communities to access capital from federal partners, even as small pilot projects, bringing together the “coalition of the willing” to get dollars on the ground.

Episode #9: Everybody Likes Happy Hour with Barton Robison

April 20th, 2024|

Barton Robison of Willamette Partnership tackles what he calls ‘weird projects’: those things that are hard to manage or hard to fund – because rural capacity is limited in city and county governments. With his lighthearted approach, Barton makes it seem easy.  But in reality there are many ways grant processes can be improved, starting with happy hour.

Episode #8: Experts in the Field with Lesli Allison

April 15th, 2024|

Lesli Allison's first role as a ranch manager in Southeastern Colorado taught her the importance of private land as part of the conservation conversation. On episode 8 of the Funding Rural podcast, Lesli shares how ranchers and farmers are leading the way on innovative climate and environmental projects and the challenges of accessing resources including research.

Episode #7: Evaluating Relationships with Allen Smart

April 9th, 2024|

Allen Smart has years of experience working with philanthropic families and health conversion foundations across the east coast and southeast. His reputation as a leader in rural philanthropy as a consultant is strong. Join Allen as he shares some of the lessons he learned throughout his tenure as a consultant – and how philanthropic organizations can make real impact building relationships in smaller communities.

Episode #6: The Love of People with C’Ardiss ‘CC’ Gardner Gleser

April 2nd, 2024|

C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser is an advocate for social impact and racial justice work. After starting her career in tech, she entered philanthropy to better fulfill her purpose and passion. She grew up in Seattle, Washington and now lives in Detroit, MI. As CC and host Erin Borla got to know each other, they discussed how the challenges in inner city communities echoed many of those challenges rural and frontier communities faced, and how we show up (or don’t) as philanthropists can impact how we build relationships and connect as people and funders in these places.

Episode #5: Understanding Access with Zavier ‘Zavi’ Borja

March 25th, 2024|

Zavier ‘Zavi’ Borja discusses his upbringing in rural Central Oregon as the son of a Mexican immigrant family — chasing agricultural work juxtaposed with his nonprofit experience in outdoor recreation. He shares his journey working with kids of color and how his past impacts his newest adventure, working for Oregon’s Governor.

Episode #4: ikčé wíŋyaŋ/Common Woman with Julie Garreau

March 12th, 2024|

Julie Garreau (enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) embodies servant-leadership as the founder and executive director of the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, SD. She talks about engaging young people – and how a grassroots organization needs investment to support community. Where many only hear stories of challenges and despair, Garreau elevates the stories of resilience.

Episode #2: Urban Issues are Rural Issues with Wynn Rosser, PhD

March 12th, 2024|

Wynn Rosser, PhD is a place-based rural funder. His work at T.L.L. Temple Foundation focuses on 22 counties in rural east Texas and he brings with him Texas-sized empathy. Rosser shares concrete examples of the interconnectedness between funding in urban and rural communities. Rosser also touches on the value of working at a strategy and policy level for larger impact and what can happen if philanthropy turns a blind eye to policy and legislation.

Introducing the Funding Rural Podcast

February 28th, 2024|

A letter from Funding Rural Podcast Host, Erin Borla. "In late 2022, I was accepted as a Fellow for the National Center for Family Philanthropy and was asked to build a project focused on rural philanthropy.  My story isn’t the important one – it’s the stories of the folks I have met along the way... I wanted to share how they have made an impact on my work and how I believe investment of time, energy and talent in these communities can make us all better people and can spark systems change across sweeping issues in America.

Erin Borla

Podcast Host

Erin Borla (she/her) is an Oregonian— born and raised in Central Oregon and the granddaughter of Oregon’s own tough mother, Gert Boyle of Columbia Sportswear. For 20 years, she has worked with and for nonprofit organizations that support rural communities with innovative economic strategies. Her dedication to supporting rural spaces through listening, collaborating and open and honest sharing of ideas helps her elevate community partners throughout her work.

Borla holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Oregon State University and a master of tourism administration degree from The George Washington University. She completed her professional certificate in Tribal relations from Portland State University’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government in 2022 and was recently announced as a Fellow for the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

Borla currently serves as an advisor for Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a member of the Future Council for the Society for Environmental Journalists, a member of the advisory board for the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program managed through the Criminal Justice Commission of the State of Oregon and an advisory member of the Comprehensive Suicide Prevention program managed by the Oregon Health Authority. Throughout the past, she has served organizations such as OSU-Cascades, Sisters Park & Recreation District, Central Oregon Regional Solutions Committee, Oregon 4-H Foundation, OSU Extension Service in Deschutes County and others. She has been a trustee for the Roundhouse Foundation of Sisters, Oregon since 2014 and stepped in as the organization’s first executive director in early 2020 at a time of rapid growth for the Foundation.

The Roundhouse Foundation, founded by Borla’s mother, artist Kathy Deggendorfer, supports creative solutions across rural communities in Oregon including the nine federally recognized Tribes and 54 historic bands of Native communities that originally called this region home. The Foundation funds at the intersection of their four programmatic areas: arts and culture, environmental stewardship, education and social services.

When she isn’t road-tripping with her family, Erin enjoys riding her horse Dallas, hiking with her dog, Sherman, knitting hats for friends and family and enjoying the best new young-adult novel.

Podcast Guests

The Roundhouse Foundation is grateful to all the Funding Rural Podcast guests who generously shared their time, their stories, and their passion for rural communities on the show. Their perspectives are as diverse as the rural landscape. Host Erin Borla spoke with folks who work with Indigenous children, who work in linguistic academia, and guests who work the land. All of them opened their hearts and shared their voices so that the future of rural funding may be more trusting and more informed.

Lesli Allison
Lesli Allison
Lesli is a founding member and chief executive of the Western Landowners Alliance. She was also a founding member of the Chama Peak Land Alliance. For the past three decades, Lesli has worked extensively with private landowners and multiple stakeholders to advance conservation, sustain working lands and support rural communities.
Prior to Western Landowners Alliance, Lesli managed a large ranch the southern San Juan Mountains of Colorado. During her 16-year tenure, she implemented progressive conservation management through award-winning programs in restoration forestry, prescribed fire, grazing, stream restoration, hunting and wildlife management, and scientific research and monitoring. Lesli holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.A. from St. John’s College, Santa Fe.

Jamie Bennett
Jamie Bennett
Jamie Bennett [he/him] works at the intersections of nonprofits, philanthropy, and the public sector with arts, culture, and comprehensive community development across rural, suburban, Tribal, and urban geographies. Jamie has worked at ArtPlace America, Columbia University, the Agnes Gund Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Philharmonic, and United States Artists; and has volunteered with the HERE Arts Center, The Heritage Center (Itówapi Owápazo) of the Red Cloud Indian School (Maȟpíya Lúta Owáyawa), the Make Music Alliance, the David Rockefeller Fund, the NeuroArts Blueprint, and Weeksville Heritage Center. Jamie lives in Toronto, Canada and has been sober since 2009.

Zavier Borja
Zavier Borja

A first generation Mexican-American, born in Redmond, Oregon – grew up in Madras and has lived in Bend for the past 12 years. His passions include serving our youth, communities and getting them outside. Zavier has worked for various youth programs for the past ten years, including the Boys and Girls Club of Bend, Bend Parks and Recreation District (youth, sports & enrichment departments), and Education Outside in San Francisco. Lastly, working for Bend-La Pine School District, as a Mentor Specialist for at-risk youth at Summit High School. Zavi created a local chapter of the nationally recognized non-profit, Latino Outdoors here in Central Oregon. From that he has been able to make connections with local outdoor partners in order to work in a collaborative manner to create – Vámonos Outside.

Erik Brodt, MD
Erik Brodt, MD

Erik (Anishinaabe) grew up near Chippewa Falls, WI and spent summers with family in the rural areas around Bemidji, MN. Dr. Brodt earned his M.D. from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and completed residency in Family Medicine at the Seattle Indian Health Board – Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, WA. Dr. Brodt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. He practices in the OHSU Hospital inpatient setting and Warm Springs Tribal Health clinic, while also serving as the founding Director of the OHSU Northwest Native American Center of Excellence.

Belinda Brown
Belinda Brown
Belinda provides leadership for Lomakatsi’s Tribal Partnerships Program and Chairs the Inter-Tribal Ecosystem Restoration Partnership. Her career highlights include expertise in intergovernmental affairs coordination with tribes, communities, and collaboratives.
Belinda works closely with Lomakatsi’s Executive Director and staff leadership to serve tribal communities in their efforts to restore forests and watersheds on tribal trust and ancestral lands. She serves as a community liaison, engaging with tribal elders, tribal councils, cultural resource monitors and tribal department staff. Belinda also works to establish and promote effective working relationships among the tribal community, Lomakatsi and federal agency and non-profit partners.
Cari Cullen
Cari Cullen
As the director of the Midwest Early Recovery Fund, Cari Cullen leads the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s early recovery work and the Native American and Tribal Recovery Program. During her 15-plus years of nonprofit management experience, Cari has directed diverse teams and projects. She has experience managing volunteers, fostering sustainable partnerships, developing curriculum and training, coordinating multi-state projects and leading national and international programming initiatives.

 Julie Garreau
Julie Garreau

An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Julie Garreau (Lakota name Wičhaȟpi Epatȟaŋ Wiŋ / Touches the Stars Woman) is chief executive officer of the nonprofit Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Since 1988, she has overseen CRYP’s evolution from a small youth center to a 5-acre campus that includes youth and teen centers, arts and culture institute, art park, garden, and social enterprises. In addition to completing several high-profile fellowships over the years, Julie has been recognized with such prestigious awards as the Bush Prize for Innovation, Spirit of Dakota Award, Presidential Points of Light Award, Tim Wapato Public Advocate of the Year Award, and Americans for the Arts’ Selena Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership.

C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser
C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser

C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser is an advocate for social impact and racial justice work.
CC began her career in the tech sector, later transitioning to non-profit work to better fulfill her purpose and passion. CC moved from working in nonprofits to the funding side to increase her impact and is now entrenched in the philanthropic sector. CC was the first Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Satterberg Foundation, whose mission focuses on promoting a just society and sustainable environment. In 2021, CC left Satterberg Foundation and founded Black Ivy Collective, which provides consulting and advising services in the philanthropic sector, as well as provides healing spaces for Black artists, scholars, and social justice advocates in community.

Margi Hoffmann
Margi Hoffmann
Margaret, or Margi, Hoffmann is the Oregon State Director for the USDA’s Rural Development program. Hoffmann grew up on a small family farm outside of Steamboat Springs, CO. Hoffmann left Colorado and moved to Portland, Oregon, where she received a B.A. in English Literature.
Hoffmann’s professional career began working in natural resources management on federal lands. She has worked on public policy in the realms of public safety, health care, climate change, energy resilience and security, and land use. She has experience working for the public and private sector, as well as in non-profit management.
In 2012 and 2015, Oregon Governors John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown, respectively, appointed Hoffmann to serve as Energy Policy Advisor. In this position, Hoffmann developed the first-ever 10-Year Energy Action Plan for the State of Oregon and served as the Governor’s office liaison to the Oregon Public Utility Commission and Oregon Department of Energy.
Torsten Kjellstrand
Torsten Kjellstrand

Torsten Kjellstrand’s work as a journalist focuses on rural communities in the Midwest and West. He worked at small and larger newspapers for almost three decades and has made documentary films with Blackfeet, Sugpiat, Navajo, and Coeur d’Alene communities over the last decade, and has been National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, a Fulbright Scholar in comparative literature, and a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He is currently a Professor of Practice in journalism at the University of Oregon.

Kali Thorne Ladd
Kali Thorne Ladd
Previously, Kali Thorne Ladd was the co-founder and executive director of KairosPDX, a culturally specific organization dedicated to eliminating educational opportunity and achievement gaps for historically underserved children. Through that work, and as a visionary leader in multiple capacities in the region, Thorne Ladd has a long track record of working to transform early learning and healthy development for children and families in Oregon. This has included serving as the chair of the board for Portland Community College, serving on Governor Brown’s Early Learning Council, and serving on the board at the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation based in Portland.

Elizabeth Marino, Ph. D.
Elizabeth Marino, Ph. D.
Elizabeth Marino is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor of anthropology and sustainability at Oregon State University – Cascades. She is also the Director of the Laboratory for the American Conversation. Dr. Marino is interested in the relationships among climate change, slow and rapid onset disasters, human migration, and sense of place. She is also interested in how people make sense and meaning out of changing environmental and social conditions; and how people interpret risk. Dr. Marino is a lead chapter author on the Fifth National Climate Assessment and was a White House appointed Science Delegate for the Arctic Science Forum.

Tony Pipa
Tony Pipa

Tony Pipa is a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution. Tony launched and leads the Reimagining Federal Rural Policy initative, and hosts the Reimagine Rural podcast. He also leads an initiative catalyzing local leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Barton Robison
Barton Robison

Barton Robison is the Program Director at Willamette Partnership, where he’s worked in some capacity since 2018. Driven by his own transformative experiences in nature, Barton’s personal mission is to ensure that everyone has equitable access to a healthy environment and its benefits. He received his Masters in Public Administration and a Certificate in Tribal Relations from Portland State University, and he currently lives in Portland with his husband, their geriatric dog, and too many houseplants.

Wynn Rosser, Ph. D.
Wynn Rosser, Ph. D.
Wynn Rosser joined the Lufkin, Texas based T.L.L. Temple Foundation as president and CEO on September 1, 2016. He previously served almost 10 years as the chief executive of Greater Texas Foundation. Prior to Greater Texas Foundation, Rosser worked 14 years at Texas A&M University in faculty, staff, and senior administrative roles. He is known for his commitment to cross sector partnerships and to improving life outcomes–especially for low income and rural residents–and for his regional approach to grantmaking and philanthropic leadership.

Allen Smart
Allen Smart

Allen Smart is a national spokesperson and advocate for improving philanthropic practice under his group –PhilanthropywoRx. Under the PhilanthropywoRx umbrella, he works with individual funders, Philanthropy Support Organizations, regional and national rural organizations and national non-profits on a wide range of strategy, writing/researching and staff coaching projects.

Brenda Smith, Ph. D.
Brenda Smith, Ph. D.
Brenda is the Executive Director of High Desert Partnership in Harney County, Oregon and has been since 2015. She has a Ph.D. in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Science in Agriculture from California State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and Management from the University of California.

Her deep interest in collaborative work started years ago when she trained in facilitation while teaching at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has had various professional experiences that range from starting and managing her own vegetable and cut flower business, conducting agricultural research,
starting a university on-farm internship program, developing outreach products for land managers.

National Center for Family Philanthropy

The Funding Rural Podcast is a project of the National Center for Family Philanthropy Fellows Program.

Funding Rural podcast cover art, “Juniper Mosaic,” was painted by Kathy Deggendorfer on a visit to the Hatfield Ranch in Eastern Oregon.

Podcast Producer: Ashley Ahearn

Cattle photo credit: The Photo Treehouse