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About the Center for Midwestern Initiatives

The Rural School and Community Trust’s Center for Midwestern Initiatives has been established to support the mission and work of The Trust in the nation’s heartland and to propagate the belief that education is the linchpin issue in rural development.

The Center for Midwestern Initiatives (CMI) has three primary objectives:

  1. To serve as a catalyst for the recruitment, preparation, and retention of outstanding rural teachers.  This will be accomplished by developing, nurturing, and advancing a network of higher education institutions dedicated to preparing teachers for the challenges and opportunities associated with teaching in small, rural, and, oftentimes, economically disadvantaged communities.
  2. To promote place-based education training and related professional development among pre-service and practicing teachers, school and district leaders, and organizational and community partners. Partnerships will be developed among the Rural Trust, higher education programs, philanthropic organizations, and community development entities to support this effort. CMI will give special attention to establishing a regional institute to expand the Rural Trust’s community development oriented place-based learning concept and trainings, and to creating an online community highlighting best practices and the stories of teachers, students, and their place-based endeavors.
  3. To advocate for and develop philanthropic assets that support local schools and the work of the Rural Trust.  This will include working toward sustainable funding for CMI, promoting school-centered philanthropy and student enterprise, and cultivating rural education funders at the regional and local levels.  Encouraging and supporting the development of school foundations will be of the utmost importance. 

For more information contact Gary Funk, 417-848-9083, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.