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 29% of rural young adults aged 18-24 are currently enrolled in college
84% of jobs in the U.S. require education beyond high school
Only about 7% of philanthropic dollars in the U.S. goes to rural areas


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.


Every student should graduate high school on a path to achieve career success and economic stability.

rootEd places dedicated college and career advisors in rural high schools to work with all students to define and plan their futures, whether through a college degree, work-based learning, or military service.



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.

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 and AndyTaylor and the William T. Kemper Foundation, among others. This collaborative effort was borne out of BDT & MSD Partners’ 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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