Rural Schools Innovation Grants: Applications are now closed.

Creativity of rural schools rewarded through new grant with Compeer Financial

April 1, 2021 |

The Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America and the Rural Schools Collaborative are pleased to announce a new grant partnership. The Rural Schools Innovation Grants program is available to rural school communities that are located within Compeer's designated 144 county region throughout Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (see map). RSC and Compeer are accepting applications through May 15, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a variety of challenges to rural schools and their communities. Fortunately, many school districts tackled them head-on with creativity, innovation and commitment. Compeer Financial, a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative based in the Upper Midwest, is partnering with the Rural Schools Collaborative to present the Rural Schools Innovation Grants program to support exemplary programs developed by rural schools during the pandemic.

Students in masks engage in place-based learning
Students in masks engage in place-based learning at Monmouth, IL

“This pandemic has resulted in unprecedented hardships for rural schools and their communities. However, challenges present opportunities, and it has been heartening to observe the creativity, enthusiasm and commitment of rural teachers and school leaders in so many of our communities,” said Gary Funk, director of Rural Schools Collaborative. “The Rural Schools Innovation Grant will advance programs that are ingenious, effective and sustainable. RSC is proud to partner with the Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America on this worthy initiative.”

Grants of up to $10,000 per school district are available through this one-time program. Rural public schools in Compeer Financial’s 144-county territory in parts of Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin are eligible to apply. A total of $150,000 is available for this grant program.

Rural school communities in this region are eligible for the program.

“Innovation is an idea that turns into a practical reality,” said John Monson, chief mission and marketing officer at Compeer Financial. “During the pandemic, faculty and staff at rural schools turned ideas into reality to continue to serve their students and communities. Some of those new ideas will continue to work well into the future. We hope to champion this innovation in our rural communities.”

Grant applications will be accepted from April 1 to May 15, 2021. Visit for more information.


About the Fund for Rural America
The Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America is the corporate giving program of Compeer Financial, structured to support Compeer Financial’s mission to enrich agriculture and rural America. Compeer Financial’s Board of Directors has dedicated one percent of annual net earnings to support the Fund’s focus areas of agricultural advocacy and development, agriculture education, cooperative initiatives, rural development and community enrichment; and youth engagement. The Fund is managed by a Board of Trustees, made up of team members from Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin and members of the Compeer Financial Board of Directors. More information about opportunities available through the Fund can be found at

About Compeer Financial
Compeer Financial is a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative serving and supporting agriculture and rural communities. The $24.9 billion organization provides loans, leases, risk management and other financial services throughout 144 counties in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Based in the Upper Midwest, Compeer Financial exists to champion the hopes and dreams of rural America, while providing personalized service and expertise to clients and the agriculture industry. Compeer Financial is the third largest cooperative of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of lending institutions supporting agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. Learn more about Compeer Financial.

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