Using numbers to help rural communities bear fruit

Andrew Dumont
Andrew Dumont, Senior Community Development Analyst, Board of Governors
Andrew Dumont, a certified public accountant (CPA) and avid outdoorsman, has quite a range of interests. An innate kinship with nature and a love for small towns changed the course of his career from being an accountant to promoting development in rural communities. “There was not going to be enough ‘mission’ for me [in a CPA role],” Andrew says about his decision to reroute his professional journey. “Shining a light on inequities that prevent people from reaching their full potential—I feel blessed that I get to do that every day.”
“Shining a light on inequities that prevent people from reaching their full potential—I feel blessed that I get to do that every day.”

Rural communities’ assets shine

Andrew is currently working with several partners to develop a rural community typology, which is a collection of data that highlights that area’s assets. By highlighting community assets such as financial capital, Andrew hopes to provide quantitative data that speaks to the potential of rural communities and which can drive increased investment. Andrew’s past work focused on the potential advantages of supporting local and regional food systems, including the creation of high-quality jobs, small business opportunities, and health benefits for residents who have greater access to locally grown fresh foods. His goal is to use data and case studies to convince investors, entrepreneurs, and government officials of the value of investing in rural areas, and how to do so successfully. For the past seven years, Andrew’s work has included researching the advantages and economic opportunities of rural areas. It has also focused on identifying the types of local and regional organizations, partnerships, and resources that are necessary for rural communities to realize their full potential. “I hope we can make a real difference,” Andrew says of the work he and his colleagues do in rural communities. “I believe that we make a difference.”
Community tour with Ralph Relyea, former Mayor of DeWitt, Arkansas. Delta Bioenergy, DeWitt, Arkansas. February 13, 2019.
Photo of Andrew speaking with 2 other people
Community tour with Daniel Davis (St. Louis Fed) and Tim Lampkin (Higher Purpose Co.). Clarksdale, Mississippi. February 13, 2019.
Andrew with Daniel Davis (St. Louis Fed), Jacob Wascalus (formerly at Minneapolis Fed), Debra Tropp (formerly at USDA Agriculture Marketing Service), and Jim Barham (USDA Rural Development). Harvesting Opportunity book launch event. Federal Reserve Board Wilson Conference Center, Washington, DC. August 3, 2017.
Photo of Andrew with Fed Chair Powell
Andrew with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Andrew had a lead role in writing the rural development speech the Chair delivered that day. Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, Mississippi. February 12, 2019.

Inspire

Working toward a more equitable economy takes skill, empathy, time, and a lot of heart. Here, members of the Fed’s Community Development team share what inspires and motivates them.