Welcome to the Rural Toolbox

Over the past several years, rural Tennessee has seen tremendous progress across a variety of metrics. In 2018, 19 of Tennessee's rural counties were classified as distressed by the Appalachian Regional Commission, with a net economic rating in the bottom 10% of the nation. Today, the number of distressed counties has dropped to 8, the fewest in Tennessee's history. Rural communities and their leaders have driven this success by collaborating with state agencies, private partners, and non-profits on issues like workforce development, education, infrastructure, and economic development.

However, much work remains to be done. State leaders remain focused on reducing the number of distressed and at-risk counties, providing resources to rural communities, and working alongside local partners to drive rural prosperity. To help local leaders in their work, this toolbox contains a database of state funding opportunities, a collection of success stories about creative uses of state programs by rural communities, and a list of other partnership opportunities.