Information, Inspiration, and Ideas for a Sustainable Rural Future

Promoting the Entrepreneurial Community Spirit

NARFI Receives Federal Appropriation

Montana Senators Baucus and Burns Spearhead Funding

Funding Announcement

Montana's U.S. Senators Get NARFI Federal Funding!
Montana Senator Max Baucus Montana Senator Conrad Burns
Montana's Senator Max Baucus and Senator Conrad Burns were instrumental in getting a $250,000 Federal education appropriation to further develop the North American Rural Futures Institute. Thank you, Senators!
[ Sen. Baucus press release ] [ Sen. Burns press release ]

The North American Rural Futures Institute (NARFI) is no longer just a dream. On December 20th, 2001 we received word from Montana Senators Max Baucus and Conrad Burns that the requested startup monies for the institute were approved by the Senate in H.R. 3061, The Labor and Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill for the sum of $250,000!

This money will be used to develop curricula and educational materials related to rural development programs. NARFI will now have the opportunity to put people to work on these ideas, connecting business people, education professionals, and rural citizens in an effort to develop the capacities necessary for true transformation.

NARFI aims to connect factions of northern Montana, from Antelope to Browning (point A to point B) across the Hi-Line to develop these capacities:

  • COMMUNICATIONS
  • BUSINESS
  • ENERGY
  • EDUCATION
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • HEALTH CARE
  • COMMUNITY

All of these are related in many ways:

  1. Each of these industries is undergoing rapid changes and these changes often affect the others.
  2. They are all "areas of need" for many, if not most rural places around the country.
  3. They all require LEADERSHIP and active involvement of the people to move beyond the "band-aid" phenomenon.
  4. They require special expertise to effectively manage AND a broad knowledge of today's changing world to effectively lead (i.e. AWARENESS of trends and events in all of the other industries).

By intentionally bridging these industries, NARFI aims to become some of the "connective tissue" required of today's rural communities to be able to proactively work with the changes of the 21st Century.

We are just beginning.

Thank You, Supporters!

NARFI has many people and organizations to thank for the birth of the North American Rural Futures Institute:

  • Senator Max Baucus was instrumental in getting this on the docket and championing our agenda.
  • Senator Conrad Burns and Congressman Denny Rehburg are also to be sincerely thanked for their extraordinary efforts to help us.
  • Paul Tuss of Bear Paw Development Corporation, deserves a special thanks for his tireless efforts to secure initial funding for NARFI and for being an active supporter of the NARFI agenda.
  • Jonathon Richter, assistant professor of graduate studies at MSU-N and Project Director of the MSU-N MIRROR Center, deserves thanks for his tireless efforts to envision and secure initial funding for NARFI.
  • Leah Noel, Administrative Assistant of the MSU-N MIRROR Center, is recognized for her extra efforts to support the early stakeholders of NARFI as they formed and advanced the pre-funding activities of NARFI.
  • Jim Salmons and Timlynn Babitsky of Sohodojo supported NARFI by building our initial web site that helped our community and University Regents to literally see the future and our place in it.
  • Rick Smyre of Communities of the Future was a vital mentor stewarding the NARFI concept and providing excellent process leadership to make this happen.
  • Craig Erickson of Bear Paw Development Corporation was an early and active supporterl.
  • Debbie Vandeburg of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce saw the importance of NARFI for local economic development.
  • Dr. Kirk Miller and Dennis Parman of Havre Public Schools understand and support our educational agenda.
  • Suzanne Tilleman of The Montana Cooperative Development Center ("143") has been a most cooperative supporter.
  • Dr. John Lundt of the University of Montana's Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling sees our vision and has been a valuable supporter.
  • And finally, we thank the Regents and everyone at Montana State University-Northern who knew that MSU-N is the best home for the North American Rural Futures Institute!

We have a bright future. Now, it is up to all of us to create it.

Congratulations and thank you to all who have made this important step possible.


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