Mora, Mora County, New Mexico

Small rural communities often face numerous environmental and economic challenges but lack leadership to develop a unified action plan

RCAC’s Building Rural Economies (BRE) initiative provides leadership training and economic development resources to ensure that rural communities throughout the West will be vibrant, healthy and enduring

Mora County residents are very concerned about their land and its pristine location at the head of five watersheds. Climate change, extreme drought, imminent catastrophic forest fires, and the incursion of oil and gas corporations all threaten the health of the watersheds and the local people. Mora County’s population of 5,000 is very low-income, primarily Hispanic and Native American descent, and geographically isolated.

RCAC worked with the town of Mora’s citizens through the Building Rural Economies (BRE) initiative to develop an action plan, objectives and timeframes. With local leaders, RCAC helped to formulate a three-part strategic plan focused on economic development and land use priorities. Additionally, RCAC helped to develop the Mora Watershed Alliance, which expects to invigorate entrepreneurship and job development by showcasing the community’s land-based values and water-centric quality of life.

The BRE strategy concentrates on local resources, markets and opportunities, and then builds a network of leaders, entrepreneurs and support around these assets. RCAC works with local organizations to network, train leaders, plan economic development strategies and support plan implementation.

As one of four RCAC designated BRE communities, Mora benefits from RCAC’s  35 years of experience in community development and a wealth of resources including a time-tested leadership program and RCAC’s Loan Fund. RCAC provides targeted support to community leaders and entrepreneurs to develop local business opportunities; make public policy changes; access financial resources; and use best practices and market information.