The Rural Community College Initiative (RCCI) was a demonstration program designed and managed by MDC to strengthen rural community colleges. Funded by the Ford Foundation from 1994 to 2001, RCCI helped 24 community and tribal colleges in the nation's most economically distressed regions to move their people and communities toward prosperity. It supported aggressive and creative efforts to increase jobs, income, and access to education in rural communities. To sustain and expand the work begun by the RCCI demonstration, MDC and the college presidents created the Rural Community College Alliance, a membership organization that supports peer learning and provides a national voice for rural colleges and the communities they serve.
A follow-up RCCI program, managed by the Southern Rural Development Center and North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, is currently introducing RCCI philosophy and practice to additional colleges. During RCCI's demonstration phase, MDC produced video and print materials to document the colleges' experiences and help other rural colleges become engaged in community development work. These materials are available from MDC.