The mission of Ruralution, Inc. is to mentor rural youths in an increasingly urbanized world.
Matt Gunterman founded the nonprofit in 2005 in response to his own experiences as a youth from rural America navigating global urban centers in fulfillment of educational and professional goals.
He knew, however, that the challenges that he faced in this transition were not unique to him. It was a transition made annually by thousands of other rural youths in search of opportunity and enrichment.
Gunterman thus set out to use an emerging digital infrastructure to build an extensive and diverse network of educators and professionals to mentor these youths.
Some rural leaders worried that Gunterman’s effort might only serve to facilitate and exacerbate the ‘brain drain’ that their communities were already experiencing, but the very opposite proved to be true. The network Ruralution built has proved to be a valuable resource and asset to these communities. They are able to access its expertise to develop and advance their own programs and agendas.
Ruralution has demonstrated that, rather than try to stem the inevitable flow of talented rural youths from their home communities to the cities, these rural communities are better served using the tools of the digital age to build and maintain healthy working relationships with these youths as they succeed and prosper in urban environments.