COVID-19 has the potential to disproportionately affect already hard-hit rural communities. Over the last three months, Opportunity Alabama has worked with a host of local and national partners to develop a response strategy to mitigate these impacts.

The Accelerator

The Rural Recovery Accelerator is a new community-oriented technical assistance program designed to help low income and rural communities build the economic resiliency strategies they need to survive the current crisis. 

How it Works

It is a 6-8 week program. On the outside, Opportunity Alabama works with statewide and national organizations intent on creating lasting impact for communities. On the inside, communities field representatives from local higher ed. institutions, chambers of commerce, municipalities, local nonprofits, economic development offices, and anyone intent on seeing their community thrive.  6-8 communities are participating in each two month period. Communities are selected based on various criteria, notably their level of need, their capacity to address said need, and their ability to foster collaboration internally to get the job done.


These teams meet regularly with members of the Opportunity Alabama team to address economic resiliency in five key ways: (1) strategy development, (2) data analysis, (3) network development, (4) marketing materials, and (5) investment opportunities. Each of these areas has deliverables. At the completion of the program, each community will have a Community Recovery Profile hosted on The Opportunity Exchange, will have projects connected and presented to Opportunity Alabama’s extensive network of investors, and will have a strategy memorandum, called a Recovery Roadmap, that is rooted in informed, granular data about project needs and demands. 


State Partners 

  • Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
  • Alabama League of Municipalities
  • Alabama Chambers of Commerce Association
  • Government and Economic Development Institute (Auburn University)
  • Jacksonville State University Center for Economic Development and Business Research 
  • University of Alabama Economic and Community Development
  • Main Street Alabama
  • Economic Development Association of Alabama
  • Economic Development Partnership of Alabama
  • Business Council of Alabama
  • United Way of Alabama

National Partners

  • MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Governance Project
  • Economic Innovation Group
  • Sorenson Impact Center
  • The Opportunity Exchange

Selected Communities

  • Butler County
  • Calhoun County
  • Chambers County
  • Jackson County
  • Limestone County
  • Sumter County

The Rural Recovery Accelerator is made possible through grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Delta Regional Authority.