Announcement: Proposed RFI Budget Reduction


FROM | Chuck Schroeder, RFI Founding Executive Director & Connie Reimers-Hild, RFI Associate Executive Director & Chief Futurist


As many of our colleagues, advocates, supporters and friends continue to inquire into the recently proposed deep budget cut to our Institute, here are a few details of our thought process to this point.

The University of Nebraska (NU) has faced and is currently facing significant reductions in state funding.

The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) absorbed a $500 thousand budget cut in November, contributing to the initial NU budget reduction of $30 million. At that time we discontinued the RFI Competitive Awards program, which has funded 50 research and teaching projects to this point. These projects have led to numerous ongoing and expanding partnerships, programs and events across our state, the four NU campuses and beyond. RFI has also been on a hiring freeze since November 2016 and was reduced by one full-time position last fall.

The now proposed additional $1 million reduction of our remaining budget will have a tremendous effect on our reach, impact and staff positions. We want to emphasize here that this reduction is proposed, not imminent; however, we must be responsible and prepare accordingly.

If you know us at all, you know we are full of bold ideas. We are full of energy. We are full of hopeful grit.

And we know that thriving rural communities are critical to our state, to our country and to the world. We find ourselves—like many communities, leaders and entrepreneurs—at a crossroads. We are at a moment in time when we can choose how to approach our desired future and work strategically toward it.

We are focused on a future with measurable impact for communities of place and practice as well as a sustainable business model for our Institute, so we can thrive along with our partners. We will share details of our evolution as appropriate throughout the coming months.

If you are so inclined, you may share your support for RFI with your Nebraska state senator and via your social media channels. You may also give to RFI via the University of Nebraska Foundation.