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Rural Health Information Hub

Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative

  • Need: To provide personal development programs to ease isolation and provide resources for farm and rural women of Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative (WRWI) develops self-sustaining women's circles that work to maintain social connections and develop healthy practices in order to break down the isolating effects of rural living.
  • Results: WRWI has worked with rural and farm women in 67 counties, providing services that encourage and build self-esteem, teach skills for coping with change, and create an ongoing support system.


Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative logo In order to meet the needs of isolated farm and rural women of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative (WRWI) was formed. WRWI advances the well-being of women and promotes successful relationships with their families and communities.

At the heart of WRWI are Gathering Circles. Each circle is a network of women who seek out positive relationships and healthy living in order to offset some of the negative effects of being isolated in rural areas. An important part of a Gathering Circle is the forming of relationships so women can support one another. Just as important is the life skills training in areas such as stress reduction, anger management, leadership, communication, and grief and loss.

Today, WRWI is sustained through private donations and grants, both small and large. There are no membership dues.

Services offered

  • Gathering Circles – a network of women dedicated to building supportive relationships and pursuing healthy living
  • Women Gathering Day – a chance to experience a Gathering Circle process
  • Women Gathering Weekend – an overnight experience of a Gathering Circle process
  • Elderwoman Gathering
  • Round Table Gatherings for Rural Women
  • Life skills training: stress reduction, anger management, grief and loss, communication, leadership


Through the process of Gathering Circles, WRWI has engaged more than 3,000 rural and farm women in 67 counties in the state of Wisconsin. WRWI establishes programs that encourage and build self-esteem and provide women of rural and farm areas with the skills for coping with everyday life.


As with many nonprofit organizations, getting annual funding is a challenge.

For people considering starting a group like WRWI, the primary obstacle may be the extensive networking that needs to occur in order to get your organization's name out into the region and to get those initial participants.


If people would like to start a Gathering Circle in their own community, WRWI invites anyone to participate in its Women Gathering Women Facilitator Training.

Contact Information

Caryn Bub-Standal, Director of Programming
Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative, Inc.

Health screening
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served

Date added
January 13, 2009

Date updated or reviewed
November 29, 2021

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2021. Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 2 October 2022]

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.