Grow It Action Ideas

On this page you will find specific Action Ideas that rural communities are using to help families plant their feet firmly on the Grow It road toward family economic success. Each Action Idea Profile details useful information about how the Idea works, what it takes to mount it—including a degree-of-simplicity index—and some key resources to help you along the way. Always remember: One size does not fit all. Which RuFES Action Ideas make sense vary by community. Something that is difficult in one place might be relatively easy in another. So start where you are: Learn about the low-income working families in your community, the barriers and opportunities they face, and the resources you have in place to build on before you decide which ideas to pursue.

Please check back regularly for more Grow It Action Ideas. Or click here to view all Action Ideas.

Children’s Savings Accounts

The Basic Idea: Help children, youth and their families save towards the purchase of an appreciating asset upon reaching adulthood so that economic status will not be a barrier to the young person’s path to success. How it works: Children and youth are provided with a specialized savings account that they can access and use […]

Town Welcome Center

The Basic Idea: Help your community grow and thrive by creating a space and/or resource to connect new residents with culturally competent services, resources and opportunities.

Payroll Savings Plans

The Basic Idea: Encourage families to have savings taken out of their paychecks – making saving easier and reducing the temptation to spend earnings right away.

Revolving Loan Fund for Affordable Housing

The Basic Idea: Develop a pool of loan resources used to finance construction of affordable housing units and their purchase. As owners repay the loans, the payments revolve back into the fund to support additional housing development. How it works—The Essentials: A Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) or other lead organization assembles a pool of […]

Down Payment Assistance

The Basic Idea: Help low-income families with the down payment they need to purchase a home. How it works—The Essentials: State, federal and/or local funds are pooled to provide help with down payments for low- to moderate-income families, using a variety of approaches. Typically, a local administrative entity accepts applications, screens applicants and administers the […]

Pre-College Assistance Programs

The Basic Idea: Increase the opportunities for promising “at-risk” students to go to college and increase their lifetime earning potential. How it works: Identify low-income students who show the academic promise to go to college, but face formidable economic and social barriers. Help students with school achievement through tutoring and counseling. Provide guidance with the […]

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

The Basic Idea: Create asset-restricted savings programs for low-income families, which include matching government and private funds to further encourage savings. How it works: Families agree to save a small amount each pay period or every month towards purchasing an asset—usually within one to three years. Eligible assets include homes, businesses and higher education—sometimes automobiles and […]

Car Purchase Programs

The Basic Idea: Help low-income rural families purchase new or late-model, fuel-efficient, reliable cars. How it works: A nonprofit organization creates a car dealership to sell cars to low-income families – or partners with another nonprofit that already has a dealership to obtain cars. The dealership buys late-model, fuel-efficient, reliable cars at auction or buys […]

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