All Roads Lead to Rural

2023 NC Rural Center Impact Report

2023 Board + Staff

Investors

financials

A message from our President

Dear Rural Partners,

The rapid pace of change continued to be a central theme again this year as the world opened back up and people were eager to find a new post-pandemic sense of normalcy. This same sentiment was reflected at the North Carolina Rural Center as we returned to rural communities more often and looked for ways to connect more intentionally with our partners.

We stayed busy and covered a lot of ground in every facet of our work.

Plus, we had the opportunity to celebrate a few milestones.

  • Our small business lending arm Thread Capital celebrated its fifth anniversary. In that time, Thread has helped hundreds of small businesses in North Carolina by making more than 1,600 loans totaling more than $84 million. Thread, along with CornerSquare Community Capital and our State Small Business Credit Initiative, is continuing the legacy of micro-lending that started at the Rural Center more than 30 years ago and we’re pleased they are all doing well.
  • Our Faith in Rural Communities program also turned five this year. Thanks to The Duke Endowment and other supporters, by the end of the fiscal year our team had worked with nearly 450 people at 55 rural churches to build out faith-based projects that serve their communities in ways they never thought possible. We were able to distribute almost $400,000 in grants to help them in addition to our training and mentoring. Congratulations to our team, our funders and, most importantly, our partner churches for what they’ve accomplished. In this new fiscal year, a $1.25 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to serve 40 rural churches of color in addition to our already planned work will keep this program strong and growing.
  • Lastly, I want to recognize our regional leadership training program – Homegrown Leaders. Homegrown Leaders has now served every county in the state after a successful class in central North Carolina this spring. Homegrown Leaders now has 352 graduates representing all 100 counties of North Carolina and continues to expand its reach.

We had other causes for celebration as well.

 

A message from our President

Dear Rural Partners,

The rapid pace of change continued to be a central theme again this year as the world opened back up and people were eager to find a new post-pandemic sense of normalcy. This same sentiment was reflected at the North Carolina Rural Center as we returned to rural communities more often and looked for ways to connect more intentionally with our partners.

We stayed busy and covered a lot of ground in every facet of our work.

Plus, we had the opportunity to celebrate a few milestones.

  • Our small business lending arm Thread Capital celebrated its fifth anniversary. In that time, Thread has helped hundreds of small businesses in North Carolina by making more than 1,600 loans totaling more than $84 million. Thread, along with CornerSquare Community Capital and our State Small Business Credit Initiative, is continuing the legacy of micro-lending that started at the Rural Center more than 30 years ago and we’re pleased they are all doing well.
  • Our Faith in Rural Communities program also turned five this year. Thanks to The Duke Endowment and other supporters, by the end of the fiscal year our team had worked with nearly 450 people at 55 rural churches to build out faith-based projects that serve their communities in ways they never thought possible. We were able to distribute almost $400,000 in grants to help them in addition to our training and mentoring. Congratulations to our team, our funders and, most importantly, our partner churches for what they’ve accomplished. In this new fiscal year, a $1.25 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to serve 40 rural churches of color in addition to our already planned work will keep this program strong and growing.
  • Lastly, I want to recognize our regional leadership training program – Homegrown Leaders. Homegrown Leaders has now served every county in the state after a successful class in central North Carolina this spring. Homegrown Leaders now has 352 graduates representing all 100 counties of North Carolina and continues to expand its reach.

We had other causes for celebration as well.

NC Rural Center

Broadband initiative pushes service down country roads

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the lack of broadband access across the country, Dr. Althea Riddick knew it was a problem in rural Gates County, where she’s lived all her life.

“It was so slow, you could cook dinner before a file loaded,” said Riddick, who now works as a part-time consultant for the N.C. Rural Center’s Collaborative Broadband project. The project started with a grant from the Anonymous Trust to assist in 15 counties in Northeastern North Carolina and has recently added 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina thanks to funding from the Dogwood Health Trust.

Broadband Impact
Building partnerships in 33 rural counties from the northeast to the state’s western tip

Brothers use shellfish loan to expand family fishing tradition from Ecuador to rural NC

In the heart of Carteret County, on the East Coast of North Carolina, lie numerous sounds, marshlands, and estuarine rivers, housing some of the nation’s most sought-after oysters. Harkers Island, Jarrett Bay, and the North River provide an ideal environment for both oyster farms and wild oyster reefs.

Thread Capital

CornerSquare

Lifelong dream leads couple to open Morganton funeral home

For Cody T. McCain Sr., opening a funeral home has been a lifelong dream, nurtured from the time he was a 4-year-old attending his great-great uncle’s funeral and fascinated by the ceremony and service.

By age 8, McCain’s interest in the funerary process had taken hold, and he worked diligently toward his goal. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies from Campbell University, earned an associate degree in funeral service and mortuary science and worked at funeral homes, building his skills and credentials with each step.

Medicaid expansion, small business wins highlight successful year for rural advocacy

The NC Rural Center’s Rural Counts Advocacy Team brings the voice of rural to Raleigh, and we are pleased with our success as we look back at the past year 

In Fall 2022, we updated the 2023 Rural Counts Advocacy Agenda and the North Carolina New Small Business Plan. These agendas offer innovative, fiscally sound, nonpartisan policy solutions and initiatives to address rural North Carolina’s most pressing economic development challenges and improve the quality of life for our state’s rural people and places. Moving forward, we will develop the Rural Counts Platform, an evergreen iteration of the Rural Counts Agenda that will be rooted in unbiased data and research and that will guide our policy positioning across multiple concerns.

NC Rural Center

Faith in rural communities

Faith in Rural Communities

Our Faith in Rural Communities Program celebrated its five-year anniversary in 2023. In that time, they invested more than $400,000 in 55 rural churches, worked directly with 450 parishioners and reached thousands more with projects that have transformed their communities. Learn more about that work in this video.

Faith in Rural Communities Impact
  • Worked directly with 64 partner churches, more than 500 parishioners in the past five years
  • $400,000 invested directly in church-led, community-based projects

Leadership & Engagement

Since its inception in 1987, the NC Rural Center has recognized the vital importance of local leadership to the success of our state’s rural areas. The Center’s flagship leadership program, the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI), has trained over 1,500 rural leaders.

REDI/Homegrown Leaders Impact
  • 1,550 leadership alumni over the life of the programs
  • 1,860 total training hours in fiscal year 2023

Rural Economic development institute

  • 121
     LOANS
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF LOANS MADE
$15,013,000

TOTAL AMOUNT OF LOAN FUNDS DISTRIBUTED

$124,000AVERAGE LOAN SIZE
  • 21%
  • WOMEN
  • 25 LOANS
  • 10%
  • BLACK OR
    AFRICAN-AMERICAN
  • 12 LOANS
  • 4%
  • LATINO OR
    HISPANIC
  • 5 LOANS
  • 6%
  • VETERAN
  • 7 LOANS
  • 45%
  • RURAL
  • 55 LOANS
  • 46%
  • VERY SMALL BUSINESS
  • 56 LOANS

LIFE OF THE PROGRAM

1,008 TOTAL LOANS
$131,153,101 TOTAL LOAN VALUE

Fiscal Year 2023
  • 91
    LOANS
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF LOANS MADE
$2,084,700

TOTAL AMOUNT OF LOAN FUNDS DISTRIBUTED

$22,900AVERAGE LOAN SIZE
  • 64%
  • WOMEN
  • 58 LOANS
  • $1,097,400
  • 69%
  • BLACK OR
    AFRICAN-AMERICAN
  • 63 LOANS
  • $1,208,237
  • 11%
  • LATINO OR
    HISPANIC
  • 10 LOANS
  • $348,300
  • 8%
  • VETERAN
  • 7 LOANS
  • 42%
  • RURAL
  • 38 LOANS
  • $851,400
  • 78%
  • CDFI ELIGIBLE
  • 74 LOANS
  • $1,623,346

LIFE OF THE PROGRAM


1,648
TOTAL LOANS

$85,693,362 TOTAL LOAN VALUE

December 2023
  • 101
    LOANS
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF LOANS MADE
$14,390,000

TOTAL AMOUNT OF LOAN FUNDS DISTRIBUTED

$142,500AVERAGE LOAN SIZE
  • 45%
  • WOMEN
  • 45 LOANS
  • 44%
  • BLACK OR
    AFRICAN-AMERICAN
  • 44 LOANS
  • 4%
  • LATINO OR
    HISPANIC
  • 4 LOANS
  • 8%
  • VETERAN
  • 8 LOANS
  • 25%
  • RURAL
  • 25 LOANS
  • 69%
  • VERY SMALL BUSINESS
  • 68 LOANS

LIFE OF THE PROGRAM


234 TOTAL LOANS APPROVED

$33,776,526 TOTAL LOAN VALUE

Fiscal Year 2023

Thank you to our 2023 Funders and Supporters

Your support makes a huge impact!