Heartland Forward Receives Rebuilding Better Grant to Support Entrepreneurship in the Heartland


Grant from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will help Heartland Forward spur entrepreneurship in mid-sized cities across the heartland.

Bentonville, Ark. – Today, Heartland Forward, a non-partisan think and do tank dedicated to improving economic performance in the middle of the country, announced they have received a Rebuilding Better grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The grant will support Heartland Forward’s efforts to spur entrepreneurship in the heartland by developing resources for mid-sized city mayors and community leaders to understand how they can reduce barriers and support start-up entrepreneurs in their hometowns.

“Entrepreneurship is critical to building our economies, and local leaders across the heartland are eager to  identify ways to help support those with innovative ideas in their communities,” said Katie Milligan, Program Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Heartland Forward. “Heartland Forward is honored to be a recipient of the Rebuilding Better Grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and appreciate them recognizing the importance of our mission. We look forward to expanding our efforts to spur entrepreneurship and build thriving communities across the heartland.”

“Entrepreneurs deserve to have their voices recognized in policy discussions. The organizations in this portfolio know these entrepreneurs and are active in their communities. They understand how best to engage entrepreneurs in conversations with policymakers at all levels,” said Jennifer Kelly, Program Officer, Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
This grant builds on Heartland Forward’s commitment to spurring entrepreneurship across the heartland. In partnership with Builders + Backers, Heartland Forward is sponsoring a national idea accelerator program aimed at taking entrepreneurs’ ideas from concept to action. The Community Growth Program and Toolkit (CGPT) is a first-of-its-kind idea accelerator–and Pebble Fund and Buildership™ program. The program was first piloted in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Oxford, Mississippi in the Summer of 2021, and the current summer cohort has more than 50 builders across ten cities and seven states. These builders are part of Heartland Forward’s commitment to supporting 1,000 builders across the heartland by 2023.


Lara Sisselman


About Heartland Forward:

Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan, 501c3 organization whose mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. Heartland Forward conducts independent, data-driven research and programs to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations. To learn more, visit https://heartlandforward.org/.

About the Kauffman Foundation: 

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Mo., that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and breakdown systemic barriers so that all people–regardless of race, gender, or geography–have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with us at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.