Radically Rural Logo

Two national foundations leading in the areas of entrepreneurship and journalism are backing the Radically Rural summit, a two-day conference in Keene’s downtown focusing on strengthening small cities and towns.

This support — from the Ewing Marion Kauffmann Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation — joins major grants from C&S Wholesale Grocers and the Kingsbury Fund in helping to present Radically Rural, the conference’s organizers announced Friday.

The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship received a $10,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation; Kauffman focuses on education and entrepreneurship endeavors. The Keene Sentinel, a co-partner in Radically Rural with Hannah Grimes, will receive a $5,000 sponsorship for the event from the Knight Foundation, which provides grants to journalistic efforts and enterprises across the country.

Radically Rural, in its second year, hosts six tracks of programming along with the popular CONNECT event. The tracks feature experts on Main Streets, working lands, arts and culture, renewable energy, entrepreneurship and community journalism.

The motivation behind Radically Rural is to reverse a growing disparity between urban and rural success by creating a forum for ideas and solutions and by making connections among the people behind these ideas.

“The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recognizes the essential role of education and entrepreneurship in empowering all people to shape their futures, create vibrant communities and grow an inclusive economy,” said Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director of the Hannah Grimes Center. “We are excited for their support for an event that clearly struck a chord in its first year — attracting 544 attendees from 21 states and from rural communities that have not felt included in the economic growth of the nation.”

“To land funding from the Knight Foundation signals the importance of us doing more to shore up community journalism in small cities and towns,” said Terrence Williams, president and COO of The Keene Sentinel. “Having local supporters like C&S and Kingsbury lend their substantial support brings additional credibility to what we are trying to accomplish.

“It is remarkable and heartening to have these folks get behind Radically Rural.”

This year’s event, Sept. 19-20, will be held in several venues across downtown, with CONNECT 2019 staged the evening of Sept. 19 in the Mabel Brown Room on the campus of Keene State College.

Early-bird tickets are on sale through July 5 at https://ticketelf.com.