Rural Power Project Research

southern regional map


Latest Update! — “Beyond Backward: Rural Electric Cooperative Leaderships’ Exclusion of Women and Minorities” (August 1, 2022)


Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs) are one of the most popular, most successful, and most enduring programs of the New Deal (1933 to 1939). As such, ACORN and the Labor Neighbor Research and Training Center (LNRTC) have conducted multi-year analyses of the representation and diversity of elected REC governing bodies.

Beginning in 2016, ACORN initiated the Rural Power Project with the research and advocacy report “The Crisis in Rural Electric Cooperatives in The South” (May 6, 2016). Further research and advocacy produced follow up research reported in “Examining the Governance Crisis of Rural Electric Cooperatives: Following the Money!” (October 15, 2016).

Establishing a time series comparison, “Electric Cooperative Board Diversity is a Failure in the South” (May 3, 2022) revisits how well REC membership is reflected among the elected leadership of the governing bodies.

Extending this research outside of the southeast U.S., “Beyond Backward: Rural Electric Cooperative Leaderships’ Exclusion of Women and Minorities” (August 1, 2022) looks at representation of REC boards nationwide.

The Rural Power Project  is organized by the Labor Neighbor Research and Training Center (LNRTC)  and ACORN International


Labor Neighbor Research and Training Center (LNRTC) is a 501c3 nonprofit specializing in the support of community and labor organizations, particularly when they are working together in alliance, as well as supporting their work with research and analysis on issues and campaigns and engaging in organizing and leader training and development. LNRTC also houses the 46-year old quarterly journal, Social Policy  and the Social Policy Press, which published most recently the e-book, Kids and Guns by Frank Strier, and Building Power, Changing Lives: The Story of Virginia Organizing. LNRTC is also the home of the Organizers’ Forum, which engages in international and other dialogues with labor and community organizers and the world, and the H. L. Mitchell Internship Fund, which encourages work for social change in the areas where legendary organizer H. L. Mitchell, organized the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The Rural Power Project  is the most recent project organized by LNRTC.

For more information, contact: or PO Box 3924 New Orleans 70177. 504-302-1238

ACORN International  is a 501c3 nonprofit supporting the growth and development of membership-based community and labor organizations both domestically and around the world in the continuous tradition of ACORN organizing methodology since 1970. ACORN has affiliates in eighteen countries around the world in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and India and over 150,000 dues-paying members.

For more information, contact: or 2221 St. Claude, New Orleans, LA 70117. 504-302-1238 x 2002