History of RCAC

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) was founded in Sacramento, California on Oct. 1, 1978. Funding from The Rosenberg Foundation allowed RCAC to establish itself as a multi-state agency that help build capacity of other nonprofit agencies and create new agencies to serve low-income people living in the rural west.

RCAC provides technical assistance to rural communities throughout the west. The people and events that converged to form this organization, however, point to seismic changes in rural life and national politics that transcend the technical.

The Origins video is RCAC's early history, how it connects to the story of rural development in general, and how it impacts RCAC's work today.

Kirke Wilson, then executive director of the Rosenberg Foundation, Bob Marshall, former Self-Help Enterprises executive director, Bill French, RCAC's founding CEO, Billie Heath, longtime RCAC staff member, and Stan Keasling, who became RCAC's CEO in 2008 tell RCAC's history from their perspectives. (Origins was filmed and edited by Jeremy Raff, RCAC multimedia specialist.)

Highlights of RCAC's history include:

1979
In collaboration with a network of nonprofit organizations and public agencies, RCAC becomes one of only six federally funded regional Rural Community Assistance Programs (RCAPs) to operate a rural water/wastewater assistance program.
1988
RCAC celebrates 10 years of service to communities, and uses an initial $1 million loan from the Ford Foundation as start-up capital for a loan fund to support housing development.
1996
The US Treasury certifies RCAC as a Community Development Financial Institution by the U.S. Treasury. Lending is expanded to include environmental infrastructure and community facilities.
1998
RCAC celebrates 20 years of service to rural America. The same year RCAC is awarded $7 million from The California Endowment to provide loans and grants to California's rural healthcare providers for facilities acquisition, construction and renovation. The Endowment also authorizes a phenomenal no-interest Program Related Investment: $20 million over 30 years to develop health and housing projects for agricultural workers.
2003
RCAC board and staff develop a new mission statement to better reflect the organization's growing interest in providing a comprehensive approach to rural community assistance.
2005
RCAC launches new leadership development training and economic development assistance.
2008
RCAC celebrates its 30-year anniversary. Founding director William French retired, and Stanley Keasling assumed RCAC leadership on Jan. 1, 2008, becoming only the second CEO in the organization's 30 year history.
It is a record-breaking year for the Loan Fund. At the close of Fiscal Year 2008, RCAC’s loan fund closed 55 loans totaling $41,723,190, which topped the Fund’s annual number of both closed loans and dollar volume since its inception in 1988.  
2009
RCAC launched new five-year strategic plan. RCAC’s Loan Fund received $2 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund.
2010 
RCAC was awarded ARRA funds to help rural communities secure and use funding to improve water and waste systems. In less than five months, RCAC assisted 36 communities to access funds for facility improvements. RCAC's Loan Fund received $750,000 from the CDFI Fund. These funds help preserve affordable housing opportunities by supporting RCAC’s flexible and affordable loan products. The Loan Fund also coordinated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Section 502 rural housing packaging consortium with seven local partners in Arizona and New Mexico.
2011 
RCAC received one of the first grants from Starbucks 'Create Jobs for USA' initiative. Launches small business loan fund (SBLF) and individual well financing programs.
2013 
RCAC provides a $16.3 million construction loan, its largest loan to date, to rehabilitate and expand Boulder City Hospital (BCH) in Nevada.