Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine
The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine is a community-wide, county-wide charitable organization actively working to improve the quality of life in Muscatine County through philanthropy. For more information about applying for grants or establishing your own fund for granting purposes, call the Community Foundation at 563-264-3863 or visit the website at

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa– The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine announced it postponed the “The Future of Rural Communities – Moving In, Moving Out, Staying Put, and Moving Over” presentation scheduled for March 26 until late summer.

In addition to working as a keynote speaker, Ben Winchester, the scheduled presenter, works at the University of Minnesota. The college imposed a short-term travel ban, which precludes Winchester from visiting Muscatine on March 26, as intended.

What You May Look Forward to When You Attend this Summer

Winchester has worked in and for small towns across the Midwest since 1997. As a research fellow for the Center for Community Vitality, Winchester manages evaluation studies that monitor the effectiveness and outcomes of leadership, civic engagement, and community economics programs.

While in Muscatine, Winchester will speak about the future of rural communities. Those in attendance will learn about the following topics:

-Why it’s a rural “brain gain” not “brain drain.”
-How the heartland has changed and how we need to change our narrative to reflect the good news!
-Rural communities have workforce housing available, we just have to work strategically.
-Learn how positive changes around community involvement, economic development, and regional living have occurred across the rural landscape that require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.

In his presentation, Winchester explains a wave of change has come to rural America. people are moving in, moving out, staying put, and moving over, resulting in major demographic shifts that will forever change the face of rural communities and have far-reaching consequences. During the next 20 years, people in rural areas will welcome in a whole new generation of residents as nearly three-quarters of owner-occupied housing will turn over as seniors and baby boomers move out. A broad examination of the trends related to these moves – such as workforce housing, a tight labor market, and changing residential preferences – will provide the main focus for Winchester’s talk.

Cindy Mays, Market President for MidWest One Bank in West Liberty, has attended Winchester’s session and describes it as, “both entertaining and thought-provoking. Make time to hear Ben’s presentation—it will change how you think.”

Dr. Naomi DeWinter, President of Muscatine Community College, has also heard Winchester speak and noted, “Ben was filled with practical ideas and data. He spoke about housing, and especially senior housing, in a way that seemed actionable. He gave a sense of excitement for rural towns in Iowa – we can thrive, if the entire community comes together.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine encourages all area leaders, influencers, and interested community members to attend this free event. Winchester will speak at a date and location the Community Foundation will announce later. Because attendees will receive a box lunch, they must preregister by emailing or by calling 563-264-3863.

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