Ben Winchester to present virtually for Community Foundation

MUSCATINE, Iowa–The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine invites you to a three-part virtual series to hear Ben Winchester, a national keynote speaker, researcher and rural sociologist speak.

  • Rural Narrative – Friday, Nov. 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Resident Recruitment- Friday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Moving In, Moving Out, & Moving Over- Friday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Ben has worked both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 25 years. He trained as a Rural Sociologist and works as a Senior Research Fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension. His applied research on economic, social, and demographic topics surrounding a theme of rewriting the rural narrative offers a new way of looking at rural America.

A founding employee at the Center for Small Towns, an outreach and engagement program at the University of Minnesota, Morris, Winchester specializes in community development, demographic analysis, data visualization, and moving communities away from anecdata.

Ben will speaking virtually about the future of rural communities. You will learn:

  • Why it is a rural “brain gain” not “brain drain”.
  • How the heartland is changing, and we need to change our narrative to reflect the good news!
  • There is workforce housing available, we just must be strategic.

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

Learn how positive changes around community involvement, economic development, and regional living have occured across the rural landscape that requires us to rewrite our narrative of community change. People move in, move out, stay put, and move over, resulting in major demographic shifts that will forever change the face of rural communities During the next 20 years, communities will welcome in a whole new generation of residents. A broad examination of the trends related to these moves – such as workforce housing, recruitment, remote work, labor markets, and changing residential preferences – will feature in the presentations.

Dr. Naomi DeWinter, President of Muscatine Community College, also heard Ben 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 invites area Leaders, influencers, and interested community members to virtually attend each free session, sponsored by the Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisa County. RSVP in advance at