Center for Rural Strategies




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $748,934
Expenses: $739,777
Assets: $351,607


Dee Davis



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Center for Rural Strategies is an organization that advocates for left-of-center policies for rural America. The center’s advocacy methods include community events, government interaction, and integration with like-minded organizations. 1 The center produces a digital news platform, “The Daily Yonder,” which focuses on the rural community, policy makers, and journalists. 2

In 2007 the center established the National Rural Assembly, a coalition of left-progressive rural activists and activist organizations. The purpose of the assembly is to combine research and experience to develop policy and strategies that would advance the rural communities across America. 3

National Rural Assembly

The National Rural Assembly is a conference organized by Center for Rural Strategies held every two years for left-progressive rural activists. Presenters and facilitators at National Rural Assembly have included speakers affiliated with the Nathan Cummings Foundation, La Union del Pueblo Entero, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and the Obama Foundation. 4

Daily Yonder

Daily Yonder is the Center for Rural Strategies’ online news outlet that covers stories from or about rural areas from a left-liberal perspective. The site was established in 2007 by Bill Bishop and Julie Ardery;5 Bishop remains contributing editor as of August 2020. 6

The site exists to promote left-progressive rural issues in the national conversation and encourage left-progressive candidates to make outreach to rural areas. In an interview with Nieman Lab, editor Tim Marema said, “What we saw is that Democratic candidates didn’t have to win rural in battleground states [to win the election]. They needed to get it a little closer — under 10 points, maybe. When they did that, then the urban advantage was more than enough to win the election for them.” 7

Daily Yonder has acknowledged taking funding from several left-progressive advocacy foundations, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Miami Foundation, and Nathan Cummings Foundation. 8 Other financial backers of the site have reportedly included the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, and Annie E. Casey Foundation. 9 The site further maintains connections with other left-progressive media coalitions and projects; it is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News10

“The Real Beverly Hillbillies”

In 2003, CBS planned to air the reality-television series “The Real Beverly Hillbillies” that would display the everyday lives of people in rural America. The Center for Rural Strategies campaigned against the television series. 11 CBS ultimately cancelled the production, following public pressure.


Dee Davis is the founder and president of the Center for Rural Strategies. He has been critical of President Donald Trump’s policies towards rural Americans saying that “rural America elected Trump. His message to rural America is, ‘I don’t care…It’s building a firewall between a promise made and a promise kept.” 12 Before the 2016 election, Davis suggested Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would be better for rural America: “The irony of this election is Clinton, who is not going to do well in rural areas, is working overtime to create policy and plans to reinvigorate small towns,” he said. “On the other side, Trump, who is going to do very well in rural America is embracing policies that have been at the center of eliminating rural jobs.” 13

Whitney Kimball Coe is the director of national programs. Coe’s professional background includes community organization, event planning, and public speaking focusing on rural and urban communities. She earned a master’s degree in Appalachian studies from Appalachian State University. She was featured in the Obama Foundation Summit series and has participated in Obama Foundation events as a speaker. 14 15


  1. “Center for Rural Strategies.” Philanthropy News Digest (PND), February 11, 2003.
  2. “Rural News and Information.” Daily Yonder. Accessed March 27, 2020.
  3. Cuthrell, Shannon. “Creativity, Innovative Problem Solving Are Key Themes for NC Rural Assembly.” WRAL TechWire, November 20, 2019.
  4. “2018 Rural Assembly,” August 4, 2020.
  5. Benz, Chris. “The Daily Yonder,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 24, 2011.
  6. “Contact Us.” Daily Yonder, 2020.
  7. Owen, Laura Hazard. “From Coal to Broadband to Trump’s Budget, The Daily Yonder Reports on Rural Life for the People Actually Living It.” Nieman Lab, March 22, 2017.
  8. “About Daily Yonder.” Daily Yonder, 2020.
  9. Benz, Chris. “The Daily Yonder,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 24, 2011.
  10. James, Meg. “’Beverly Hillbillies’? CBS Has Struck Crude, Appalachia Says.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2003.
  11. Hopkinson, Jenny, Catherine Boudreau, Danny Vinik, and Lauren Dezenski. “Rural Voters Lose in Trump’s Budget Plan.” POLITICO, March 16, 2017.
  12. Davis, Don. “Presidential Candidates ‘Don’t Have Understanding of Rural America’.” The Dickinson Press, October 17, 2016.
  13. “Obama Foundation Summit Series: Meet Whitney Kimball Coe.” Obama Foundation, November 3, 2017.
  14. Bowean, Lolly. “Hundreds Gather in Chicago for First Obama Center Leadership Summit.” Chicago Tribune, May 23, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2001

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $748,934 $739,777 $351,607 $367,192 N $740,074 $8,105 $755 $202,200 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $729,390 $727,439 $288,334 $313,076 N $684,878 $43,838 $674 $256,914 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $934,539 $1,038,953 $53,131 $79,824 N $845,852 $87,668 $1,019 $256,920 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $832,602 $900,731 $384,704 $306,983 N $647,287 $183,528 $1,787 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,070,849 $908,015 $347,056 $201,206 N $355,412 $715,254 $183 $255,120 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $857,937 $998,447 $85,210 $102,194 N $398,659 $458,498 $780 $294,625 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,417,639 $1,310,048 $465,681 $342,155 N $881,035 $533,819 $2,785 $343,260 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center for Rural Strategies

    46 E MAIN ST
    WHITESBURG, KY 41858-7346