Rural Forward North Carolina


To view all program staff and their contact information, click here.

Rural Forward NC amplifies the impact of rural leaders, organizations, and coalitions through capacity building and resource development. 

One in five North Carolinians, almost 2.2 million people, live in rural counties. Compared to towns and cities, those living in these rural areas face a number of unique health barriers that limit them from getting access to the care they need. Shortages of doctors, dentists, and specialists in these areas, combined with the limited or no health insurance coverage of many rural residents leads to higher rates of chronic diseases and mortality.

At the same time, North Carolina’s rural communities are full of natural, social, economic, cultural, and human capital used as the building blocks to prosperity. The new rural economy is more interconnected, built upon our global economy, and more tied into regional opportunity.

Development of Rural Forward NC

In an effort to improve the health and overall quality of life for people in rural NC, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust launched it’s signature program, Healthy Places North Carolina in 2012. The Trust is investing up to $100 million to improve the health of residents in 10 to 12 of the state’s most rural and financially disadvantaged counties. In order to support participating counties, the Trust partnered with the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation in 2015 to launch Rural Forward NC.

As a regional support organization for Healthy Places NC, Rural Forward NC is designed to respond to the needs of a community by listening to its people, cooperating with local change-makers, and working with residents to find ways to build on community successes and tackle entrenched challenges.

Rural Forward NC Today

With an overall goal of improving the major health indicators in NC counties over the next ten years, Rural Forward NC carries out its mission to build capacity and develop resources that amplify the impact of rural leaders, organization, and coalitions in the five counties of Halifax, Rockingham, Edgecombe, Nash, Beaufort.

Rural Forward NC also works in coordination with an assembly of statewide agency partners to identify:

  1. Promising local leaders and their efforts to improve the health of rural communities, directly or indirectly;
  2. The assets of those efforts and the relevant barriers to success
  3. Sustainable goals and achievable action plans.
  4. Measureable outcomes and benchmarks for success.

They also provide the following services:

  • Training
  • Facilitation
  • Grants Development
  • Policy Development
  • Resource Management
  • Relationship Brokering
  • Strategic Planning
  • Conflict Management
  • Identification of Expertise
  • Coaching
  • Program Planning

By the end of this initiative, Rural Forward NC envisions healthier, more sustainable rural communities with increased capacity to solve their own health problems.

Click here for more information on Healthy Places NC on the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust website.