About Maine Rural Partners


Maine Rural Partners is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing collaborative, integrated approaches to rural development. We are governed by a board with balanced representation from tribal, federal, state, county and local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations.

Our Mission

Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of rural communities to secure a sustainable high quality of life. We accomplish this by:

  • Serving as a resource and network clearinghouse;
  • Identifying resource, policy, and program delivery needs and opportunities;
  • Catalyzing rural progress through focused resource coordination;
  • Listening carefully to diverse voices in search of common ground;
  • Convening the right partners to forge innovative solutions; and
  • Understanding, sharing, and celebrating what works.

We also provide a unique role as Maine’s federally recognized state rural development council within the National Rural Development Partnership.

Our Vision of Success

We envision a Maine in which:

  • Rural communities demonstrate the capacity to attain a high quality of life for current and future generations;
  • Rural residents feel empowered to work collaboratively toward a shared vision for the future; and
  • Public and private sector resources are maximized toward this end through effective coordination.

Origin and Key Affiliations

Maine Rural Partners was incorporated in 2003 to create independent legal status for the Maine Rural Development Council, a successful program hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension from 1991-2003 in cooperation with the National Rural Development Partnership. MRP, now organized as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, is housed within the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine in Orono.

Core Functions

MRP’s Articles of Incorporation cite the following core functions:

  • Advocate for the needs and desires of rural Maine communities;
  • Improve access to, and the effectiveness of, rural services and resources by convening tribal, federal, state, county, regional, local, non-profit and private stakeholders in neutral forums;
  • Empower rural stakeholders by increasing awareness, building capacity and facilitating partnerships; and
  • Demonstrate innovative rural programs and policies in partnership with other stakeholders.

Operating Principles

Maine Rural Partners believes that Maine’s rural people can define and achieve their own visions for the future. In advancing this work, Maine Rural Partners is committed to the following community-building principles:

  • Working to engage and empower rural voices;
  • Strengthening institutions and economies that maintain rural identity;
  • Celebrating and building upon each community’s unique rural assets;
  • Fostering a better understanding of interdependency;
  • Preserving Maine’s tradition of stewardship; and
  • Undertaking a holistic approach to rural development.

Maine Rural Partners believes that resources are best utilized and Maine communities are best served by working in collaborative partnerships. Maine Rural Partners is committed to the following collaborative principles:

  • Respecting and trusting fellow partners and their work;
  • Achieving a high standard of quality work in rural communities;
  • Sharing responsibility for problem solving;
  • Sharing credit for achievements;
  • Striving for continuous learning and improvement; and
  • Undertaking frequent organizational self-assessment.

 Western Mountains Alliance

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We work closely with our partner organization Western Mountains Alliance located in Farmington, Maine.