We Believe in the Future of Rural America

A Blueprint for Rural Renaissance

About RuralWorks

Introducing RuralWorks: A Source of Integrated Capital for Rural Businesses
The promised renaissance of rural America has been a long time coming, and the time is now. With nearly 60 million Americans living in rural communities and facing unique challenges, tremendous opportunities exist to grow rural economies while simultaneously benefiting the environment through investment and collaboration.

Rural America, as stewards of our land and food, is closely tied to our environment. These communities are fertile grounds for businesses that offer innovative solutions to climate change and other environmental challenges. Rural areas have a crucial role to play in addressing global environmental issues.

RuralWorks believes there is a path forward. We envision a future where Rural America thrives while maintaining a sustainable environment. We believe that by scaling rural businesses that are committed to protecting the environment, we can create a positive impact on local communities and the planet as a whole. The time to invest in these opportunities and build a more sustainable future is now.

We Have a Strategy to Help!
RuralWorks provides integrated capital to growth-oriented businesses operating in rural communities that are doing their part to protect our planet and generate community wealth and economic resilience. By creatively engaging a range of local and national resources and partners, RuralWorks aligns its investments with sustainable practices while creating value and outcomes rooted in local people, places and businesses.

When investing in a local business, RuralWorks is making an investment in the local community that surrounds it, bringing fresh sources of relevant experience, access to extensive networks of resources, and, of course, access to much needed equity capital. Engaging and supporting local businesses and the communities that surround them is our blueprint for a rural renaissance, a blueprint designed to grow businesses, build economic mobility and generate community wealth and resilience.


Appropriate Risk-Adjusted Returns

RuralWorks provides investors access to institutional-quality, growth-oriented climate smart investment opportunities in rural America, helping them diversify their portfolio, earn an appropriate risk-adjusted return and achieve their financial goals.

Achieve Impact Goals

RuralWorks helps investors achieve their mission-related objectives by investing in forward-leaning companies that (a) recognize that the creation of quality jobs and employee prosperity helps build better, more valuable businesses and stronger, more resilient local communities and (b) understand the importance of protecting the environment.

Institutional Investment, Operating and Impact Expertise

Our investors benefit from the private equity and community development and operating experience and skillsets of our team and our ability to appropriately balance and generate market-rate financial objectives and mission-critical social outcomes for both our portfolio companies and our institutional investors.

Rural businesses

Source of Integrated Capital

RuralWorks provides growth-oriented businesses operating in rural communities with access to equity capital for a range of needs including organic growth, the purchase of a business or material asset, the financing of an ownership transition, the restructuring of the balance sheet or any number of special situations that call for patient capital.

Vast Network of Resources

RuralWorks helps businesses grow and become better corporate citizens through sharing our own expertise and by leveraging local, national and international sources of expertise, networks and other resources tailored to the unique needs of each business.

Mission-aligned Partner

Like you, RuralWorks believes that offering your employees quality jobs that pay a living wage and an engaging and safe workplace makes for a better, more valuable business. Like you, RuralWorks is deeply committed to the communities that surround you. Also like you, RuralWorks believes that protecting the environment is necessary for the long term success of local and global communities That’s why we work hard to help you, your employees and your community build wealth and economic resilience over the long term while contributing to a healthier planet.

Carpenter working on computer



When RuralWorks invests in a rural business, we’re also investing in the local community. Accordingly, RuralWorks engages local partners to help us understand the unique attributes and needs of the community and help us design appropriate strategies, make critical connections, and deliver impactful resources that positively impact not only our investment but the surrounding community now and in the future.

Community Development Momentum

RuralWorks will support businesses having a commitment to good corporate citizenship and their local community development ecosystems, adding our resources – knowledge, networks and capital – to the mix of community assets needed for businesses to thrive.

Long-Term Impact

Directly and through our networks, we work to create connectivity between our rural businesses and their local communities in a manner that provides ongoing benefits to both local communities and the planet which helps to ensure that these businesses have a sustainable path to lasting growth within communities.


Support for sustainable solutions that address climate change and other environmental challenges has been growing since the Paris Accord became effective in 2016, with heightened attention from public and private interests over the past few years. We work to be part of the solution by scaling businesses that promote environmentally beneficial practices and/or solutions to climate change or other environmental challenges. We strive to contribute to a healthier planet.


Skip Wyer

Skip is RuralWorks’ Chief Investment Officer and member of the Investment Committee. Skip brings over 35 years of finance and investment management experience, creating and deploying a broad range of debt and equity investment structures across numerous industries, markets and cycles. Skip founded and ran Linea Capital where he supported businesses in the sustainable agriculture, clean tech and real estate sectors. Skip was earlier a portfolio manager at Värde Partners where he managed a $600 million private equity portfolio and before that a member of Cargill’s venture capital division where he focused in food and agriculture related technology investments. Skip lives and works in rural Vermont.

Robert Zulkoski

Bob is a founding partner, Board Member and Investment Committee Member of RuralWorks. He brings over 40 years of global finance and fiduciary investment management experience. As a leader, Bob has held executive positions at large firms such as Kidder, Peabody & Co, GE Capital, Colony Capital, and Oaktree Capital. As an innovator, Bob has been a founder of investment firms such as Conduit Capital, Conduit Connect, and Pangaea Capital Management Pte. Ltd. And as an entrepreneur/mentor, Bob has played a lead role in a number of other successful business start-ups as a personal investor, advisor and/or board member.

Terry Farley

Terry is RuralWorks’ Chief Operating Officer and a non-voting member of the Investment Committee. She brings 35 years of experience in the financial services industry, including extensive experience in building and growing companies. During tenures at Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse, Terry built two asset-based warehouse lending facilities and created a residential mortgage loan origination platform. Earlier, Terry oversaw the growth and innovation associated with the securitization and distribution of $130+ billion mortgage and asset-backed securities at GMAC-Residential Funding Corporation, led investor relations, and was a key executive in the analysis and execution of GMAC-RFC’s business expansions. Terry began her career practicing corporate law at Dorsey & Whitney, focusing on M&A transactions and asset securitizations. She also has experience consulting non-profit organizations, managing distressed assets and as a member of various boards. Terry works out of RuralWorks’ office in Minnesota.

Louisa Schibli

Louisa is RuralWorks’ Chief Engagement Officer and a member of the Investment Committee. She is the co-founder of Milk Money Vermont, an online equity crowdfunding platform connecting everyday Vermonters to Vermont businesses looking to raise capital. She was a 2019/2020 fellow at the Just Economy Institute, focusing on the support of financial activists and use of different forms of financial, social and natural capital to generate positive social and environmental change. She’s also a founding member of the Vermont Women’s Investor Network (VTWIN) that supports female investors, founders and local innovation ecosystems. She was a 2021 Vermont Leadership Institute graduate While living in Switzerland for 12 years and earlier in her career, she worked in physical commodities trading at Glencore. Louisa lives and works in rural Vermont.

Investment committee & Board members

Jennifer Anderson

Investment Committee and Board Member

Jennifer, Chief Administrative Officer for Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), is responsible for the organization’s operations and the stewardship of its financial assets. Jennifer has extensive experience as a senior executive in the financial services industry. Prior to joining CRF, Jennifer served as vice president and treasurer of AgriBank, a Farm Credit System institution. Jennifer is headquartered with CRF at their offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Melissa Obegi

Board Member

As President of Conduit Capital, Melissa is responsible for launch and execution of fund products and oversight of corporate and fund operations. With over thirty years of experience, Melissa brings a depth of understanding of the global investment management business. As Asia General Counsel at Bain Capital, Melissa oversaw fund and joint venture formation, transactional, portfolio and operational legal and risk management matters for the Asia Pacific region. Her work was recognized by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers award for Strategic and Risk Advice, Corporate Law Departments, Asia Pacific, 2020.

At Oaktree Capital, she served as Associate General Counsel in Los Angeles, and as Asia Regional Counsel and Managing Director, Asia Principal Opportunities in Hong Kong. She also held various roles at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US government agency supporting emerging markets private sector investment. As Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Salzburg Global Seminar on Corporate Governance, Melissa has led programs that inspire directors to address the changing expectations for responsible corporate leadership.

Paul Tremewan

Paul Tremewan

Board Member

As CRF’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Paul Tremewan is responsible for the organization’s financial assets and directs and manages the decisions and actions that affect and maximize the financial value of CRF and its subsidiaries.

Tremewan has been with CRF since 2016 and manages the organization’s finance and accounting team, including financial reporting, capital, and financial compliance reporting for CRF and its subsidiaries. Tremewan is also responsible for overseeing financial and capital planning, forecasting, and modeling of new products and programs.



RuralWorks Partners is an impact investment firm that delivers much needed growth capital to rural businesses that are doing their part to protect our planet and generate community wealth and economic resilience. By investing in ready-to-scale rural businesses that create quality jobs and protect the environment, either by demonstrating a commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices or by providing solutions that address climate change or other environmental challenges, RuralWorks can deliver meaningful impact to both underserved rural communities and the environment.


RuralWorks was created by Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, a national non-profit Community Development Financial Institution with a mission to improve lives and strengthen communities through innovative financial solutions and Conduit Capital (USA), whose founding mission is to develop capital solutions focusing on some of the world’s pressing social and environmental challenges.


RuralWorks targets businesses operating primarily in rural communities located in the Northeast and the Upper Midwest, though will consider investments anywhere in the USA. 


The USDA defines rural as an area outside a standard metropolitan statistical area or within a community with a population of 50,000 or less.


The coordinated and collaborative use of financial, human and social capital in support of growing businesses committed to the creation of quality jobs and more prosperous rural communities.


Eligible businesses should:

  • Growth-stage and transitioning businesses (including businesses contemplating or executing a company sale to management teams or employees (e.g., ESOPs)
  • Report $1,000,000 to $10,000,000+ of stable, recurring revenue
  • Cash flow positive (or highly visible)
  • Investment Size of $1,000,000 to $5,000,000
  • National in scope with regional focus of the Upper Midwest, Great Lake States, and Northeast
  • Commitment to employees, local community, and environmental sustainability

Which investment Sectors?

RuralWorks’ investments are generally focused on the agribusiness and food industry, including the following:

  • Sustainable and regenerative agriculture
  • Local and regional food systems
  • Waste upcycling / circular economy
  • Forest and fisheries
  • Other industries including rural power, electric distribution, water and waste disposal, communications

What is Climate-smart Agriculture?

Climate-Smart agriculture is an integrated approach to change current agri-food practices to ones that will transform the current system into one that is green and climate resilient. Typically, climate-smart businesses focus on sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and creating resilience to climate change; and to the extent possible, reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions.

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