Creating Rural Wealth

What is wealth creation?

Wealth creation takes a systems approach to rural development. Using this approach, we work to build multiple forms of capital that are owned and controlled locally. The wealth creation approach recognizes that real and lasting change is about more than just money; it requires the creation of infrastructure, the development of skills and knowledge, the building of political influence, the fostering of trust and relationships, and the sustainable stewardship of natural resources. The approach encourages a balanced, holistic framework for development that takes all of these factors into account.

Green Edge Gardens Barn

How is Rural Support Partners involved in creating wealth in rural communities?

Many of our partners are working to create multiple forms of wealth in the communities and regions in which they are based. We help our partners develop and implement assessment, planning, and measurement systems based on the idea of building multiple forms of wealth through sustainable value chains. We find that thinking through this lens helps our partners understand and begin to measure the true impacts of their work. This understanding, in turn, helps us all to learn how to deepen and expand the scale of our influence on rural communities.

We also serve on the Ford Foundation's Wealth Creation and Rural Livelihoods Resource Team, and play an advisory role in several national projects of the Initiative.

Where can I learn more about the wealth creation framework and how it's being used?

Read a comprehensive overview of the wealth creation framework, philosophy, and Initiative at

See a short description of how the Central Appalachian Network uses the wealth creation approach in their sustainable agriculture work.

Join the national Wealth Creation Community of Practice!


7 Forms of Community Capital
  • Financial capital: monetary assets that households and communities control, and can use to build other forms of capital
  • Natural capital: renewable and non-renewable natural resources and environmental services
  • Social capital: the trust, relationships, and networks that support healthy communities
  • Individual capital: the skills, health, and capacity of the people in a community or region
  • Built capital: physical and connective infrastructure, like roads, equipment, and technology
  • Intellectual capital: the knowledge and innovation that are available to a community or region
  • Political capital: the power that a group of people, organization, or community have to influence the way resources are distributed