Rural Impact County Challenge Action Learning Cohort


At least one member of each team applying to the RICC Action Learning Cohort must be an elected county official and the county must be a NACo member.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) have partnered to offer this RICC Action Learning Cohort opportunity. Recognizing the critical role local officials play in supporting innovation and change, NACo has a national initiative to help advance county efforts to both expand affordable housing and understand the link between housing, health and equity. CHR&R is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute that provides data, evidence, guidance, and examples in order to build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health and connect community leaders working to improve health and equity. Together, CHR&R & NACo help identify new and innovative solutions to the issues facing counties including affordable housing.

The RICC Action Learning Cohort seeks to highlight and support counties in their exploration, learning and action. Selected teams will join together as a community of learners in a structured format to learn, collaborate, and network. Teams receive individual and group-based support e from CHR&R staff to accelerate learning and action in communities. 

The application deadline is Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Selected teams will be notified no later than Sept. 6, 2019. The Action Learning Cohort’s first meeting is at the NACo Rural Action Caucus Symposium in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Oct. 10, 2019. Interested? Schedule office hours with CHR&R staff to learn more about participating—click here to schedule.

The RICC Action Learning Cohort will run September 2019 - August 2020. To assist you in planning and determining whether to apply, a preliminary program calendar is provided below.

Month Agenda
July/August Interested counties can opt to have office hours with CHR&R staff to learn more about the benefits and opportunities provided by participating in the program; application due August 22.
September Applicants notified by September 6.

CHR&R staff contact accepted teams to discuss design of interactions, what to expect, how to prepare, formally meet team members once virtually and ensure virtual environment has been established; pop up learnings on Zoom as needed.

9/26/19 Virtual Action Learning Session #1: cohort introductions, expectations and previewing the work together.


Cohort kickoff in conjunction with 2019 Rural Action Caucus Symposium, Lake Placid, N.Y. (Oct. 10-12) Review survey results; interactive workshops. 

10/10/19 Plan to attend Thursday afternoon with your team before the RAC reception Oct. 10. 

10/31/19 Virtual Action Learning Session #2: Taking home learning from RAC.

November 11/21/19 Virtual Action Learning Session #3: Co-design
December Team Calls with CHR&R staff: application, network approach to learning

Team Calls with CHR&R staff and 

The 14th - 16th In Person Convening (travel supported)

February 2/13/20 Virtual Action Learning Session #4
March 3/12/20 Virtual Action Learning Session #5
April Team Calls with CHR&R staff: applying learning, building a network of peer learners
May 5/14/20 Virtual Action Learning Session #6

6/11/20 Virtual Action Learning Session #7: Debrief Learning

PLUS Team Calls with CHR&R staff to prepare to present (select teams)

Why You Should Apply for the RICC Action Learning Cohort

  • Develop new connections with other practitioners focused on expanding affordable housing and understanding the link between housing, health and equity.
  • Explore new tools and resources to advance actions that contribute to better health.
  • Evaluate multiple strategies to improve housing, the built environment and health in your community.
  • How Can the RICC Action Learning Cohort Benefit Your County?
  • You will have the opportunity to work closely with other teams working to improve their communities. You will:
  • Select and advocate for appropriate programs and policies that will result in increased affordable housing in your counties.
  • Support other participants as they engage with collective learning.
  • Communicate about the role of interjurisdictional partnerships, planning and zoning, funding and finance, and advocacy in increasing affordable housing in your counties.
  • Formulate a plan for continued peer-sharing and constructive support. 
  • Connect an equity approach to  improving health outcomes.

What You Should Expect in the Cohort Experience

Group-based action learning brings together teams from multiple communities in a structured format for problem-solving, critical thinking, and mobilization around a common topic or approach. CHR&R staff customize their guidance for each community based on their assets and goals and for each cohort in a co-designed learning exchange. Engagement with the learning cohort will last one year from September 2019 - August 2020. Your team of three to five* core team members must be identified. The team is intended to represent a larger county collaboration (partnership, coalition or network) but these core members will engage with the Coach and other teams in the cohort throughout the year. Engagement will include interactive video meetings (via Zoom), including peer exchanges and individual team meetings with an assigned CHR&R action learning coach, and in-person convenings. The core team must be the same throughout the cohort experience. Supplemental gatherings at NACo conferences are encouraged. Cohort sessions via video last from 60-90 minutes but may vary depending upon the teams’ needs. (*Travel reimbursements are guaranteed for 3 team members to the January convening only. All other reimbursements are offered on a case by case basis. See below for further details.)

Additionally, RICC Cohort teams will have the opportunity to work closely with each other, forming a close network of communities doing similar work.

What Do I Get if I Participate?

  • A lasting cohort of co-learners working on similar issues in diverse locations around the US.
  • Guidance to develop professional multi-sector partnerships to support your work in housing.
  • Guidance to create an individualized action plan to meet your county needs, objectives and measures.
  • Access to experts during webinars, online exchanges and in-person meetings.
  • Experience in facilitated online discussion groups using a range of tools in the Zoom platform.
  • Travel support to at least one convening for up to three persons.
Topic NACo-CHR&R Rural Impact County Challenge Action Learning Cohort: Addressing Rural Affordable Housing
Participant Learning Objectives

1)  Engage in virtual learning opportunities to collaborate, problem solve and support peer practitioners working on affordable housing initiatives.

2)  Transfer knowledge, skills and learning back to your home community coalition or network.

3)  Establish a learning network to continue beyond the duration of this cohort to support you in your work on affordable housing initiatives.

Application Period July 15- August 22, 2019

September 2019 – August 2020

In-person meetings include:

  • Launch convening at the Rural Action Caucus (Lake Placid NY) pre-meeting 10/10/19
  • RICC 3 Cohort Meeting: Location & exact date TBD, January 2020 (travel funds support 3 members from each team)* required
  • Closing convening at NACo Annual Meeting July 2020 (Orange County, FL)

What Virtual group-based learning featuring peer exchanges, tools and resources, tailored guidance and in-person meetings. Regular participation is key to learning!
  • Teams interested in building a lasting network of learners to share your experiences.
  • Teams that enjoy the virtual learning environment and are comfortable using video to connect with others.
  • Teams ready to commit to a group-based learning initiative for the next year and can travel for an in person convening in January 2020 (with optional attendance in October 2019 for a launch and July 2020 for a closing).
Eligibility A cross-sector team of 3-5 members. Participation is limited to teams with a NACo member in the lead.