Rural Wisconsin Incorporated

Internship Location: Madison, WI

Organization Type: Interest group

Policy Area: Food, lifestyle, economy

I had the unique opportunity to intern with Rural Wisconsin Incorporated which was founded in 1979 to address rural issues in Wisconsin. This organization had gone dormant in the 1990s but was working on its return to existence and adaptation to contemporary issues. Using data collected by a Governor Evers initiative, historic Rural Wisconsin Inc. documents, and my own history in rural organizing I helped put some of the pieces together to get the organization out in public and working again. In this position, I developed policy positions based on Rural Wisconsin Inc.’s historic platform and needs of rural residents as described by the 2020 Rural Voices report, generated lists of individuals and organizations to contact to be members of Rural Wisconsin Inc., and engaged in organizational strategy work as Rural Wisconsin Inc. leadership and I discussed aspects of contemporary media and publicity opportunities. This work culminated in a meeting with a Rural Prosperity Commission member to establish a partnership and updated content for a Rural Wisconsin Inc. web presence. This internship experience taught me about high-level strategizing for advocacy organizations, grassroots organizing in Wisconsin, and issues facing rural Wisconsin residents. Rural Americans are an important part of the national economic and political systems. Part of my career goals are to help alleviate tensions between urban and rural areas and Rural Wisconsin Inc. gave me new perspectives on rural issues and how they connect with other issues nationwide.