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  Funding Opportunity Details
 -390574-2021 Future Ready Iowa Childcare Challenge Fund Grant
  Future Ready Iowa
  Application Deadline: 02/12/2021 11:59 PM
Award Amount Range: $5,000.00 - $100,000.00
Project Start Date: 03/01/2021
Project End Date: 06/30/2022
Award Announcement Date: 02/19/2021
Eligible Applicant:
Program Officer: Katherine Leggett
Phone: 515-204-1378 x
Categorical Area:

Notice of Funding Opportunity
State Agency Name: Iowa Workforce Development
Funding Opportunity Title: 2021 Future Ready Iowa Childcare Challenge Fund Grant
Announcement Type: Initial
CFDA Number (if applicable): Not applicable
Important Dates

  • Deadline: Applications for the funds are due by Friday, February 12, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. Subsequent application deadlines will be determined depending on the availability of funds after the second round is awarded.
  • Application Notification: A Notice of Intent to Award will be posted on the Future Ready Iowa website

Program Description

The purpose of the fund is to encourage and enable businesses, nonprofit organizations, and consortiums to establish local child care facilities and increase the availability of quality, affordable child care for working Iowans. To support this work, the fund will award competitive grants to support community and regional initiatives. Iowa Workforce Development is seeking collaborative applications that propose new, cutting-edge ideas as well as proven strategies. The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity is to solicit applications that will enable Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to award grant funding to match local investment and support the goals of the Child Care Challenge Program and Future Ready Iowa.

Funding Priorities
IWD seeks to prioritize the investment of resources in the following areas:

  • New construction of a childcare facility
  • Rehabilitation of an existing structure as a child care facility
  • Retrofitting and repurposing of an existing structure for use as a child care facility

Estimated Available Funds
The State of Iowa has appropriated $1.2 million to support both the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund and the Child Care Challenge Fund. The source of funding is state-appropriated and subject to annual appropriations. Some funds available for award may be carried-over from the previous year’s Employer Innovation Fund appropriation.

Estimated Award Amount
IWD anticipates awarding grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Grant awards may vary in amount as determined by the scope of the project. Funding decisions are made as funding is available and IWD is not obligated to provide the maximum grant amount requested. If more funds are requested than are available, funds will be awarded proportionately to eligible proposals to provide the greatest amount of support across all eligible applicants.

Project and Award Period
Per the statute, matching awards that are unclaimed or unused as of June 1 shall be canceled.
Awardees must provide a detailed report of the use of funds and the progress of the project by December 31st of each calendar year. The detailed report shall be submitted to the Director of the Department of Workforce Development and shall include:

  1. Date of funds received.
  2. Amount of funds received.
  3. Amount of funds provided by the employer.
  4. A report concerning the progress of the project awarded.
  5. A report of the number of children and families served by the project.

Type of Award
IWD may award matching grants to successful applicants.

Use of Funds
The Child Care Challenge Fund can be used to support new construction of a child care facility, rehabilitation of an existing structure as a child care facility, or the retrofitting and repurposing of an existing structure for use as a child care facility. It cannot be used for administrative expenses of operating the program or implementing the project.

Cost Sharing or Matching
The Child Care Challenge Fund is a match grant. What this means is that the grant is intended to serve as a match to funds raised privately or donated in kind (labor and materials) for the purposes of the project by the applicant and/or project partners. Applicants may request a Child Care Challenge match grant for an amount up to the amount of the private funds raised.

Applicants must prove the existence of and security of the original funds or documentation showing proof of the in-kind services or goods in order to qualify for a match from the Child Care Challenge Fund. Documentation must be included in the application submission as an attachment. Proof may be provided by an official statement from an FDIC- insured financial institution holding the funds. In the absence of a statement from a financial institution, an affidavit from a certified public accountant can be used to certify the existence and security of the funds to be matched. Applicants need to plan to expend all private funds first.

Administrative or personnel costs for overseeing a project or implementation of a plan do not qualify for consideration for matching funds.

Reporting Requirements
Successful applicants will be required to submit reports to document the progress of the project as part of the grant requirements. Annually, all grantees must provide a detailed report of the use of funds by December 31st of the reporting year to the Director of Iowa Workforce Development. The report must include, but is not necessarily limited to:

  1. Date of funds received.
  2. Amount of funds received.
  3. Amount of funds provided by the employer.
  4. A report concerning the progress of the project awarded.
  5. A report of the number of children and families served by the project.

Payment Schedule
The executed grant agreement will specify conditions for payment and payment schedule. Private funds must be expended first, then matching funds may be drawn down on a reimbursement basis. Applicants need to plan to expend all private funds first.

Eligible Applicants
Eligible applicants include businesses, non-profits and consortiums in good standing with the State of Iowa. IWD encourages applicants to cultivate partnerships to enhance project activities and outcomes. If an employer is not the lead applicant, applicants are required to include a letter of commitment from an employer as a key project partner with the application submission.

Grantees must comply with all applicable provisions of state and federal laws pertaining to nondiscrimination, sexual harassment, and equal employment opportunity.

Additional Consideration
Additional consideration will be given to organizations that demonstrate the administrative capacity and a history of successfully implementing innovative projects. Additional consideration will also be given to organizations and projects in local workforce areas and regions throughout the State of Iowa that document how the project will impact workforce, education and economic development.

Additional Information: Additional information regarding this funding opportunity can be found in the attachments provided on For any additional questions regarding this posting, please use the "ask a question" function in IowaGrants at the top of the page, or email IWD Grants Program Coordinator, Allison Hanrahan at: 


 Click on the File Name to open attachment
Description File Name File Size
2021 Future Ready Iowa Childcare Challenge Fund NOFO 2021 Future Ready Iowa Childcare Challenge Fund Grant NOFO.pdf 964 KB
Appendix A-FRI Childcare Challenge Application Guidance APPENDIX A -Future Ready Iowa Child Care Challenge Fund Application Guidance.pdf 432 KB
Appendix B-FRI Childcare Challenge FAQ APPENDIX B -Child Care Challenge Fund Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).pdf 391 KB
Appendix C-FRI Childcare Challenge Scoring Rubric APPENDIX C - Child Care Challenge Fund Grant Scoring Rubric.pdf 362 KB
Appendix D-IowaGrants New User Registration Instructions APPENDIX D- New User Registration Instructions .pdf 720 KB
Appendix E-FRI Childcare Challenge Budget Form Appendix E-Employer Innovation Fund Budget Form.xlsx 16 KB
 Website Links
 Click on the URL to go to website
Submitted Date Question Answer
01/14/2021 Hello, Would renovating or upgrading an existing child care center be an eligible investment? Thanks, Jay Yes this would be and eligible investment project.
01/16/2021 What program area of interest should new users request in IowaGrants? Future Ready Iowa
01/16/2021 Can you use grant funds to purchase a building, or space for a new Childcare center? Yes.
01/16/2021 Does the childcare center need to prove cash in hand for the matched funds, or would a pre-approval for a line of credit from a bank be sufficient? Pre-approval would be sufficient.
01/19/2021 Would an in-home daycare facility looking to renovate be eligible for this grant? This would be unlikely, the grant is for employers and businesses working with employers to address the employees needs for childcare and increase child care capacity. The renovation piece really relates to a community or employer taking an already existing building, maybe a community center or old business not being used and renovating it for child care.
  – The Official Website of the State of Iowa. Dulles Technology Partners Inc.