TFN’s Northeast Funders Network promotes an interdisciplinary approach to building sustainable, vibrant and just small-town and rural communities in the Northeast, with attention to the connections between rural and urban environments. Our geographic scope includes the northeastern states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

We aspire to create and grow a community of funders who share and learn together – and who are collectively better informed about new models and practices relevant to their work and well positioned to think strategically about its integrated and interconnected nature. The Northeast Funders Network provides opportunities to meet with colleagues in person to learn and think about broad regional connections and regional data and trends, to think collectively about leadership development and building community/civic capacity, and to share practices, lessons, and new ideas. Through our annual meetings, learning calls and webinars, we offer access to rich and provocative content of mutual interest: on economics and demographics in the Northeast; stories about the challenges to rural communities; trends in rural poverty with particular focus on the Northeast; opportunities for change in small-town and rural northeast communities; and reflections on how the changing climate and natural environment impacts the economy and social equity in these communities.

About NEFN

Following a scoping effort supported by the Orton Family Foundation, NEFN was launched in early 2014. Specific issue areas of interest have included the status of immigrants and refugees; community economic development challenges and opportunities; the emerging climate economy including clean energy opportunities; change and opportunity in low and moderate income communities in smaller, post-industrial cities; transitions in the forest economy; nature’s services to both urban and rural areas; and cultivating the next generation of leadership.

Strategies and Goals

Participation in the Northeast Funders Network is open to public and private foundations and corporate grantmakers. Government funders that demonstrate a deep commitment to the work of the Northeast Funders Network also may participate.

Our strategies are:

  • Linking funders to enable them to exchange information and learn together with an overall focus on the connections and interdependence between rural and smaller communities and our cities and metropolitan regions.
  • Identifying priority issues and strategies for ongoing deep-dives and possible strategies for aligned funding activities.
  • Supporting interested funders to develop strategies for aligned funding or collaborations, undertake special initiatives and commission relevant research.

Steering Committee

Learn More

For more information about TFN’s Northeast Funders Network, contact Director of Programs Ann Fowler Wallace
at or (617) 524-9239.