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Welcome to the
Office Of Rural Prosperity

The Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP) advocates for and promotes rural Kansas and focuses on efforts designed to aid rural improvements. Through ongoing conversations with rural stakeholders, ORP identifies key policy priorities and blends administrative action with legislative work to remove barriers to prosperity. As a division in the Kansas Department of Commerce, we are part of the economic development team that is solely focused on the growth and prosperity of rural Kansas. 

Since being one of the first key priority departments established by Governor Kelly in 2018, we have worked to ensure rural communities were elevated and programs and services that rural stakeholders outlined as priorities are developed.  After two state-wide listening sessions, one thing was clear: rural Kansans consistently felt the State was not listening. They felt as if they did not have a seat at the table. These discussions established the foundation and priorities of ORP.

The following are the priorities that hundreds of Kansans helped to establish with the Office of Rural Prosperity.  These are always changing, adapting, and growing as rural Kansans continue tackle the hard issues facing their community. 

Rural Champions

A network of devoted rural champions working to strengthen Kansas communities

The Rural by Choice Champions program is designed to create a network of grassroots individuals who possess the necessary tools to resolve critical community needs in a quick and effective manner. These Rural Champions will receive strategic training, compensation, and paired mentorships to assist them.

Developed by the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP), in partnership with the Kansas Sampler Foundation (KSF) and the Patterson Family Foundation, this program will address critical public needs in rural communities and build capacity moving forward.

Kansas Statewide Housing Needs Assessment 2021

In 2021, KHRC and the Office of Rural Prosperity launched the state’s first comprehensive housing needs assessment in nearly 30 years, aiming to address a decades-long shortage of data on existing housing resources and current and projected needs. A lack of quality, affordable housing is widely recognized as one of the state’s biggest barriers to growth and development, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

Power Up and Go – Rural Action Report

The mission of this project was to to gain a greater understanding of current challenges and opportunities in rural Kansas for young people — helping to figure out why they choose to live in rural communities, and why it’s difficult to make that choice. This report provides context and meaning to potential actions for state government, local government, businesses, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, and community members who want to invest in the future of their communities. The rich diversity of challenges and opportunities in rural communities lends itself well to support of locally identified challenges AND locally identified solutions.

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Housing Resources in Kansas

Affordable, quality and accessible housing is a critical component to growing the Kansas economy and improving the quality of life in our state.

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