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The Virginia Rural Center is a collaborative partnership of the Center for Rural Virginia and the Council for Rural Virginia.  These two organizations established a collective services agreement to work together on their joint mission of economic prosperity for rural communities throughout Virginia.  While the two legal entities are stand alone organizations, they operate collectively and share an Executive Director under their partnership, referred to as the Virginia Rural Center.
The Center for Rural Virginia is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization established by the Virginia General Assembly in 2004.  The creation of the Center was a recommendation of the Rural Prosperity Commission, created by the General Assembly in 2000. The goal of the Commission was "Prosperity for all Virginians". The 18-member Commission was instructed by the General Assembly to “undertake a detailed analysis of rural Virginia economies and recommend flexible but targeted state policies which, combined with local efforts, will help foster sustainable economic growth in Virginia’s rural areas.”


The final report of the Rural Prosperity Commission was issued in December 2001 and featured specific policy recommendations, including the creation of the Center for Rural Virginia to address the obstacles and capitalize on the many opportunities of Rural Virginia.  In 2004, founding board members Senator Frank Ruff and Delegate Steve Landes, sponsored the enabling legislation, creating the Center.  


The 21-member board of the Center for Rural Virginia works in partnership with the 19-member board of the Council for Rural Virginia.  The Council is associated with the National Rural Development Partnership, created out of the 2002 Farm Bill.


The Council is a member of Partners for Rural America, whose mission is to support the efforts of its member State Rural Development Councils (SRDC’s), which are uniquely positioned:

  • To expand economic and social opportunities for America’s rural communities and their residents;

  • To promote equal treatment of rural America by government agencies and the private sector;

  • To provide a collective voice for rural America.


Together, the Center for Rural Virginia and the Council for Rural Virginia work with federal, state and local policymakers and regulators as well private sector stakeholders to improve economic opportunities and preserve the quality life throughout rural Virginia.  


Please visit the ISSUES page to learn more about the issues impacting rural Virginia; the INITIATIVES page for details on the Center's current projects; and the RESOURCES page for information on the programs and events available throughout rural Virginia from stakeholders at the federal, state, local, business, and partner organization level.


Thank you for visiting the Virginia Rural Center website. We look forward to working with you.

Our Mission

To work with policymakers and stakeholders to create innovative solutions and expand entrepreneurial opportunities to ensure economic prosperity for all regions of the Commonwealth.

Our History

Created by the General Assembly in 2004, the Center for Rural Virginia works to advance economic development, job creation, workforce development, education, infrastructure, healthcare and other vital initiatives for the prosperity of rural Virginia.

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