Programs are a critical part of our work as a “think and do” tank. It takes what we’ve learned from our research and provides a pathway for it to live in Heartland communities.

We know the lifeblood of a community and economic development come from entrepreneurial residents working together to drive solutions and change. Innovation and Entrepreneurship will lead the inaugural work of our four pillars. We can already see the intertwining of this work with the strategy around human capital/workforce development, health and wellness and regional competitiveness.

Over the past year Heartland Forward and Builders + Backers have used a new approach to problem solving to stimmulate entrepreneurial thinking and action across the heartland.

Our goal is to inspire more people to see themselves as Builders, creating value for communities and increasing access to capital and resources.


The Connecting the Heartland initiative is a multi-pronged, multi-state initiative in America's heartland working to boost internet availability, internet speeds, adoption rates and participation in online services that are key to opportunity.

Our goal is to ensure American families in the Heartland have the high-speed, affordable internet service necessary for full participation in life in the digital age.

Heartland Forward is the only think and do tank dedicated to improving economic performance in America's Heartland. We believe the Heartland is a storehouse of economic potential that is too often overlooked in national policy discussions.