Rural Causes Lack Support as Foundations Focus Resources Elsewhere

Rural America Struggles for Foundation Aid 2

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom

President Obama (with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, left) threw a spotlight on rural development during a bus tour last week.

Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, turned heads in 2006 when he called on foundations to double the tiny amounts they were spending in rural areas within five years.

The five-year deadline passed quietly in May. While statistics about rural philanthropy are challenging to track, advocates for rural charities say foundations have not come close to meeting the senator’s challenge.

Grants for “rural development” in the United States dropped 3.4 percent from