Remote video URL
What Does It Take To Transform Persistent Rural Poverty into Opportunity?

Rural areas are underappreciated for their diversity, cultural vitality, and economic innovation and resiliency, and persistent poverty is holding back about one out of seven rural counties. Shaped by histories of slavery, oppression, displacement, and resource extraction, rural and Native communities face multiple forms of exclusion from wealth, education, and health, leaving them without capital, quality jobs, housing, infrastructure, and services that would meet community needs and drive opportunity.

Six community development financial institutions (CDFIs) serving rural areas are committed to transforming persistent poverty in rural areas into persistent opportunity. Covering broad and diverse regions of rural America—from Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta, the Deep South, the Rio Grande Valley, the western US, and Native communities across the country—these organizations bring critical capital and capacity to marginalized small communities and towns, centering community needs and hopes in their work. Join the Urban Institute and leaders from these CDFIs for a virtual event exploring what has worked and what challenges and opportunities exist for transforming poverty into opportunity in rural and Native communities.  


  • Suzanne Anarde, Chief Executive Officer, Rural Community Assistance Corporation
  • Bill Bynum, Chief Executive Officer, HOPE  
  • Chrystel Cornelius, President and Chief Executive Officer, Oweesta Corporation
  • Jim King, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fahe
  • Nick Mitchell-Bennett, Executive Director, cdcb
  • Ines Polonius, Chief Executive Officer, Communities Unlimited
  • Brett Theodos, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
  • Corianne Payton Scally, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute (moderator)


Support for this event is provided by the Partners for Rural Transformation. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.


Date & Time Wednesday, October 13, 2021

  • Senior Fellow, Research
    Practice Area Lead: Housing as a Platform
  • Senior Fellow