Getting to Know the New “Us”

Swearing in ceremony for new U.S. citizens.

“Hello! Please Come In!” That’s the typical welcome sign as you enter rural communities across the United States. But some rural towns and businesses now add signs that read “¡Bienvenidos!” (Spanish) and “Zoo siab txais tos!” (Hmong), among others.

Mentorship Programs for Immigrants

The Basic Idea: Help immigrants and refugees in rural communities learn – in an informal setting – about cultural practices, language, and resources available in the U.S. so they can successfully integrate into schools, workplaces, and communities. How it Works: Establish the scope and goals of the mentoring program Designate volunteer mentorship coordinator(s) Recruit long-term […]

Mighty Bold Manistique

Rural places face significant health challenges in the United States. According to data from, rural places rank worse on health behaviors, health outcomes, and access to clinical care than their urban counterparts. So it takes some mighty bold thinking and acting for a small town to create a healthier community in just five years.

The Business Case for Helping Rural Families Get Ahead

PBS Special on Working Bridges

Doing business in smaller communities requires finding good employees from a smaller pool of workers. Retaining those good employees can be the difference between profits and loss, or between staying put and relocating.  So why, many rural employers wonder, do their businesses experience such high turnover in the ranks of their low-to-moderate wage workforce? Isn’t […]

How much does it cost for a business to replace an employee?

The Center for American Progress conducted a review of 30 academic studies that approximated the cost of replacing a worker who left the job due to firing or quitting. Their review concluded that the cost of replacing a worker averages around 10% to 30% of the worker’s annual salary. In other words, not having to […]

Five Ways to Help Rural Families Get Health Coverage by March 31

At the RuFES Action Network, we are always looking for creative and practical ideas to help families Earn it, Keep it and Grow it. One of our Framework’s 28 family-focused goals, Keep It Goal 8, motivates us to find ways to ensure that, “families have ready access to affordable basic goods and services,” including health care. Almost always, affordable health care starts with […]

Using the Kaiser Calculator at VITA sites

Have an idea for how rural tax prep programs can do just a little more to help rural families a whole lot? We do! Several VITA programs are spending just one minute with families at tax sites to ask them if they have affordable health insurance. If they don’t, tax volunteers use computers, tablets or even […]

Save a little for a chance to win big!

Families need to save if they are to get ahead.  But it’s hard to get started. Saving just a little regularly is the best way to go.  That helps families establish a financial cushion, the first Grow It goal of the RuFES Action Framework. Every year, free tax prep sites look for ideas to encourage low-income families to save […]

Average Earned Income Tax Credit by State (2013)

Nationally, the average 2013 EITC (for the 2012 tax year) was $2,335 according to the IRS. The figures, however, varied widely by state. In Vermont, the average was $1,840 and in Mississippi the average EITC was $2,747. Find your state’s average EITC in the table below. State Average EITC Amount Alabama $2,685 Alaska $2,011 Arizona $2,467 […]

Combining Tax Prep and Affordable Health Insurance

Questions Part VI: Other General Questions Return to the main webinar page. Questions Part I: Training Questions Part II: Permissible Guidance Questions Questions Part III: Affordable Care Act and Families Questions Part IV: Penalties Questions Part V: Premium Tax Credits Questions Part VI: Other General Questions Will doctors be allowed to decline certain insurances that pay […]

RuFES is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group.
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