The Rural Leadership program provides training, mentorship, and funding to rural communities and regions initiating leadership programs. This program is a result of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’s 2018 Recommendations. If we want our rural communities to survive and thrive, it will take strong local leadership. Many rural communities have created effective leadership programs, as have various Iowa industries. Leveraging these efforts as examples and partners, this program targets rural communities who want to start a local leadership program and work to engage participants in community leadership roles. Grantees will participate in a two-day bootcamp resulting in a work plan and a one-year mentorship.
The program is administered by the Center for Rural Revitalization, a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, in consultation with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Forces.
Grantees are required to send three citizens to participate in a two-day training, dates posted on the Empower Rural Iowa website. Grant funds and match dollars must be used for the development and implementation of a community leadership program. Eligible uses include but are not limited to: travel costs associated with participating in the Exchange and Bootcamp; marketing materials; staff time on leadership program; room rentals; speaker fees; or purchase of equipment/materials. Food and beverage costs are not eligible expenses.
Additional program details include:
- Grant Award: $1,000
- Minimum $500 cash match requirement
- Funding based on annual availability
- Disbursements will be made on a reimbursement basis
- City or county government and private 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 nonprofit agencies and foundations are eligible to apply
- Applicants that are not a local government must include a letter of support from the Mayor or resolution from the City Council
- Programs must exist in and benefit a community in Iowa with a population of 20,000 or fewer and not contiguous to a city with a population of 40,000 or greater OR if a county-wide program, must be one of the 88 least populous counties in Iowa
Applications are submitted via IowaGrants.com during an annual, competitive application round. All applications will be reviewed by a panel including Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Force members; Iowa Economic Development Authority staff; and expert professionals. The following categories are evaluated when selecting awardees:
- Participation & Timing
- Program Description & Background
- Core Team Diversity & Partnerships
- Participation Goals & Implementation Plan
- Budget & Local Support
- Geography & Population
Review panel will assess each application based on the following yes-or-no questions. Applications which satisfy all the questions will be presented to the Executive Director of Iowa Economic Development Authority for final approval.
- The applicant has indicated capacity and interest in launching a leadership program.
- The applicant identified why the timing is ideal for a leadership program in their community.
- The applicant has developed a basic structure and intent for their leadership program.
- If a program has been attempted in the past, the applicant has learned from the challenges of those activities.
- The applicant has identified diverse and committed partners.
- The applicant has identified diverse representatives to attend and participate in the Leadership Bootcamp and Exchange.
- The applicant has included specific goals and outcomes to achieve at the Leadership Bootcamp.
- The applicant has demonstrated secured cash match.
- The applicant has indicated plans for program sustainability beyond grant year.
- The application included at least one letter of support from a partner with a vested interest in the success of the leadership program.
Questions may be directed to Liesl Seabert, 515-348-6154 or email firstname.lastname@example.org