For Immediate Release
Aug. 30, 2022

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The T.L.L. Temple Foundation (TLLTF) and the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) today announced a partnership that will provide three phases of digital economic development resources and support to local leaders in Nacogdoches County as part of CORI’s Rural Innovation Initiative. The engagement will be CORI’s first in Texas. 

TLLTF and CORI identified Nacogdoches as the ideal location in East Texas to build a digital economy ecosystem that can create the type of tech startups and high-value digital technology jobs that fuel future economic growth in the region.

CORI’s three-phase program in Nacogdoches will include working with community leaders to assess the community’s digital economy assets and gaps, guiding local leaders as they develop a strategy to create and bring digital jobs to Nacogdoches, and technical assistance as the community applies for funding opportunities that support the execution of its strategy.

“This grant is aligned to the foundation’s strategy to propel economic opportunity and build thriving rural East Texas communities,” said Wynn Rosser, Ph.D., President and CEO, T.L.L. Temple Foundation. “The future is brighter for rural areas that figure out how to develop digital economy ecosystems and capture a greater share of digital jobs, capital, and workforce. Success in Nacogdoches can attract and leverage new federal and private dollars and provide a model for East Texas, positioning our region as a leader in rural innovation.”

“We are thrilled to announce this new partnership and can’t wait to get started in Texas,” said Matt Dunne, Executive Director at the Center on Rural Innovation. “We couldn’t ask for better collaborators who share our vision that tech startups and good-paying digital technology jobs can happen anywhere, especially in small towns and rural communities like the ones you’ll find in East Texas.”

The Rural Innovation Initiative was launched in 2018 by CORI’s mission-aligned collaborating organization, Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI) as a way to empower rural communities as they execute on digital economy ecosystem strategies. To date, the initiative has helped communities raise more than $17 million to support rural innovation through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s highly competitive Build to Scale Venture Challenge grant program.

Most communities that graduate from the Rural Innovation Initiative join CORI’s Rural Innovation Network, a growing collective of local leaders across the country that are working to train local residents in digital skills, employ them in new economy jobs, and empower them to launch the startups that will drive their future economies. 


About T.L.L. Temple Foundation

The T.L.L. Temple Foundation works alongside rural communities to build a thriving  East Texas and to alleviate poverty, creating access and opportunities for all. The foundation was established in 1962 to enhance the quality of life for East Texans — for the people and communities that helped the Temple family build its business. Today, the foundation is governed by a board composed of Temple family members and community leaders, and has invested more than $540 million since its inception.

About the Center on Rural Innovation

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is a national nonprofit committed to advancing economic prosperity in rural America through the creation of inclusive digital economy ecosystems that support scalable entrepreneurship and tech job creation. Established in 2017, CORI is at the heart of a dynamic social enterprise focused on closing the rural opportunity gap. To maximize all possible resources to address this critical problem, the organization partners with a taxable nonprofit, Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), and a seed fund, CORI Innovation Fund (CIF), focused on early-stage technology companies located in rural areas.


Contact: Rebekah Collinsworth
Center on Rural Innovation (CORI)