The Challenge to Address

Postsecondary education has never been a greater differentiator in a student’s future success and livelihood. This reality has profound implications for rural communities and small towns, where less than 30 percent of adults hold a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Changing the odds for rural students isn’t just a moral imperative, it’s an economic necessity.

32% of U.S. high school students live in rural communities and small towns
Only 34% of rural young adults aged 18-24 are currently enrolled in a postsecondary program
80% of jobs that pay middle class wages require some postsecondary education and training
Less than 5% of philanthropic dollars go to the needs of rural communities


rootEd Alliance launched in 2018 to address the most challenging obstacles to success after high school for students in rural America.

rootEd Alliance partners with local and national organizations working to meaningfully improve postsecondary and career outcomes with advice, exposure and access to financial resources, so that all students in rural areas and towns can pursue their dreams. Together, these organizations form a holistic model that supports students starting in high school through college and beyond.


The mission of rootEd Alliance is to clear a path to a stronger future for students in rural America. A collaborative philanthropic effort, rootEd Alliance grew out of a collective belief in the power of education to change lives and an understanding of the unique needs of rural America.



rootEd Alliance Members

rootEd Alliance brings together high-impact organizations and educational institutions to support rural students of all academic levels and interests as they pursue  and complete postsecondary education. Across the Alliance, students are provided with dedicated support, tools and resources as they chart their pathways to stronger economic futures.

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rootEd Missouri

rootEd Missouri is a partnership between two organizations with deep roots in Missouri – Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC), and rootEd Alliance.

Missouri Postsecondary Advising Initiative

In fall 2021, rootEd Missouri, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, launched a three-year initiative provides select rural high schools with federal funding to hire college and career advisors to work alongside counselors to help students plan for success after high school.

Alliance Supporters

rootEd Alliance is made possible by a group of family business owners and individuals, including Trott Family Philanthropies, the Steward Family Foundation, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, the Carl and Marilyn Thoma Foundation, Barbara andAndyTaylor and the William T. Kemper Foundation, among others. This collaborative effort was borne out of BDT & Company’s commitment to building impactful social projects that bring donors together around big ideas that are underresourced and overlooked by the philanthropic sector, with great need and great potential for impact.

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