We Believe

“Leaders” are known by their vision, ideas, energy, passion and engagement in collective action — not just by their titles.

Diverse and inclusive leadership is needed to propel communities forward.


The Rural Futures Institute empowers leaders through funded research and teaching projects, a unique service learning program and an engaged statewide network.


Leadership Development Projects

Each year since its creation, RFI has funded research and teaching projects in the area of leadership development. These projects have explored the incorporation of youth and student programs, diversity and, most recently, health care.

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RFI Student Serviceship

Rural Futures Institute Student Serviceship connects communities to college students and students to rural communities, leaders and mentors.

A hybrid between service learning and traditional internships, “serviceships” provide communities with tangible results on important self-defined projects while giving students resume-building work and insight into the career and life opportunities in rural places.

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Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN)

CYN is a statewide network designed to connect, empower and retain young leaders in the rural areas of Nebraska. Young people between the ages of 21 and 40 who are motivated to provide leadership in their rural communities are brought together in purposeful ways to expand networks, grow skills, think boldly and take action on behalf of their rural communities.

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Connect With Us!

To learn more about our leadership programs, please contact RFI Director of Leadership Kayla Schnuelle.