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Winrock International


Advancing Sustainability and Preparedness in Rural Economies (ASPIRE)

Funder: USDA Rural Development and the Walton Family Foundation

Project Timeline: October 1, 2023 - September 30, 2026

Country: United States

Program Area: U.S. Programs 

Contacts: Michelle Perez,; Jordyn Schneider, and Jaylin Sprout,

Contributing to USDA Rural Development’s mission of improving the economy and quality of life in rural U.S. communities, the Advancing Sustainability and Preparedness in Rural Economies project will provide technical assistance, training and mentoring to four rural municipalities in Arkansas with the goal of enhancing local capacity to plan, implement, and sustain innovative community and economic development initiatives.

Winrock will implement a cohort-based, tiered technical assistance approach spanning the community development process, supporting each community to grow from its unique stage of capacity while fostering regional collaboration. Using a combination of peer-learning, project-based learning, and one-on-one technical assistance, the project will guide leadership through  building effective and equitable coalitions as drivers of change, reviewing regional and local  community and economic data; using data to identify community needs and solutions; identifying and writing grant and loan applications; effectively designing and managing community and economic development initiatives; and developing strategies to increase resilience and recovery of local economies through more and better market opportunities and improved infrastructure. With these tools, coalition leaders will be equipped to make changes in their communities while teaching others these principles to ensure efforts are sustainable and inclusive.  

To help communities thrive, Winrock will focus on three goals: