Resource Conservation and Development Councils;
Local People Solving Local Problems
Local people know what is best for their communities. That is the core premise of the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program and the key to its success. The RC&D Program provides a development process that is unique in that it is driven by a passion to mobilize local, state and national resources to address economic, social, and environmental and quality of life issues on the ground where those issues occur. Often that ground is rural America and the partnerships formed are rooted in the communities being served.
The hallmark of the program is its diversity and scope. There is no one RC&D model. There are 375 local RC&D Councils across the United States and several of its territories. Each council is made up of local leaders of all types who know their communities well. These volunteers are driven by a passion to serve their home places. They identify the challenges their communities are facing, forge partnerships to take on those challenges… and solve them.
The scope of the RC&D Program is exceptional. Its councils form a rural information delivery system that relies on its collective strength to provide technical expertise, create funding partnerships and puts boots on the ground to solve a locally identified problem. In fiscal year 2010 Councils collectively assisted 2.2 million economically or socially disadvantaged people nationwide while protecting or preserving more than 2.1 million acres of agricultural land.
The focus on local direction and control has made the RC&D Program one of the Federal government’s most successful rural development programs, with RC&D Councils able to leverage approximately $7 for every Federal dollar invested in the program. Today, More than 32,000 volunteers are serving on and with RC&D councils. The 375 RC&D Councils are located in all 50 states, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Basin and serve a combined 85% of all US counties and 77% of the total US population.
RC&D Councils are 501(C)3 non-for-profit corporations. They are not governmental entities, so the typical policies and constraints of local, state, and federal government programs do not limit the types of issues they address or the means they use. Within their respective areas (typically covering 5-8 counties), RC&D Councils have a high degree of independence to carry out activities that will achieve their most important goals. RC&D Council volunteers are leaders and community stakeholders involved in multiple roles in local government, school boards, churches, and other civic activities. At RC&D Council meetings, they draw from their professional expertise and community connections to determine the needs of their RC&D Council areas, address those needs, and make their communities better places to live, work, and play. Nationwide, over 25,000 volunteers serve on local RC&D Councils.
Click here for a list of our Circle of Diamond RC&D Councils and organizations