The Rural Enrichment Grant program aims to support small quality of life projects that will create meaningful results in rural communities. Developing quality spaces for people to want to live, work, play, and engage will support the vibrancy of Iowa’s rural places. Eligible projects must be open to the public and contribute to the vitality and engagement of the community. This grant program is a result of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’s 2018 Recommendations.
The program, defined in Iowa Administrative Code, is administered by the Center for Rural Revitalization, a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), in consultation with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Forces.
Wednesday, July 13, 9-10AM: Register online
Grant Request Amount
Applicants may request funding for eligible one-time project expenses incurred and expended within the eligible funding period.
- Minimum Grant Request: $1,000
- Maximum Grant Request: $20,000
Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in projects by providing a minimum of 1:1/2 cash match. The match must be secured, dedicated to eligible expenses, a legitimate part of the proposed project and must be expended within the eligible funding period. The 1:1/2 match requirement may be raised through a combination of public and private sources but may not include in-kind donations of goods or services, unsecured funding or loans. For example, an applicant that requests $10,000 in grant funds must have at least $5,000 in cash match. While the minimum match requirement is 1:1/2, competitive proposals will demonstrate broad-based financial support for the project and public funding sources adequately leveraged to seek and obtain private dollars.
- Cash match constitutes actual cash contributed to direct project expenses by the applicant or other funding sources.
- Funding from state government already being used as match from another program, including other funds from the IEDA, cannot be used to meet the match requirement.
All project activities and incurred expenses must occur within the eligible contracted funding period of
October 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024. Funding is awarded to grant recipients on a reimbursement basis after expenses have been incurred for approved project activities within the eligible funding period. Expenses incurred before or after the eligible funding period are not eligible for reimbursement.
DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS
Disbursements will be made on a reimbursement basis. Disbursement claims must be for an amount equal to or greater than $500 per request. All claims must be made through IowaGrants.gov. When submitting a claim, the following items are required:
- Detailed description of expenditures and corresponding amounts.
- Product invoices and proof of payment for any equipment, supplies or materials purchased.
- Receipts for any Iowa travel expenses.
- Invoices and proof of payment for any subcontractor payments.
- Timesheets for any personnel time requested.
- IEDA may request additional documentation as needed.
- A status report for the claim period. Status reports must be received once per quarter. If no funds are requested, recipients should still file a status report.
Iowa businesses, colleges and universities, city or county government, and nonprofit organizations and foundations are eligible to apply. A single entity must be selected to serve as the primary applicant for grant funding applications; however, the project should include collaboration between a consortium of partners. The selected primary applicant must meet the definition of eligible applicant. The applicant will be responsible for submitting eligible material during the funding application process and will be the entity legally obligated to the terms of an agreement if awarded funding. Partners and collaborating entities are not subject to the eligibility requirements but may be subject to financial and programmatic review during the selection process.
- Projects/programs must exist in and benefit a community in Iowa with a population of 20,000 or fewer and not contiguous (sharing a common border) to a city with a population of 40,000 or greater.
- Any eligible applicant may submit an application that includes one or more partners.
- Any eligible applicant will be allowed to submit one application per funding announcement. An applicant who has applied as the principal entity for an application may also be named as a partner on additional applications submitted but may not be named as a primary entity.
- Applicant is local government entity (mayor or city council) or applicant has included letter of support from the mayor or resolution from the city council.
- Federally tax-exempt nonprofit organization incorporated and physically located in Iowa.
- Physical location of the organization is defined as maintaining a current home office and registered agent address in Iowa defined by Iowa Code 490.501, as well as maintaining a primary staff presence physically located and working in Iowa.
- Public or private school serving grades pre-K through 12 and physically located in Iowa.
- Nonprofit institution of higher education physically located in Iowa.
- Unit of local, county or federally recognized tribal government physically located in Iowa.
- For-profit corporation or business located in Iowa.
- A business will be considered an Iowa business if the business is incorporated in the state of Iowa or authorized to do business in the state of Iowa.
Eligible Project Requirements
Project requirements for Rural Enrichment Grant awards include, but are not limited to the following:
- Applicant shall demonstrate how the project aligns to the program mission.
- Applicant shall demonstrate eligibility.
- Applicant shall demonstrate the capacity for grant administration.
- Application shall demonstrate the feasibility of completing the proposed activities with the funds requested and contract period.
- Applicant is a local government entity (mayor or city council) or has included a letter of support from the mayor or a resolution from the city council.
- Application shall identify and describe any other sources of funding for the proposed activities.
- Application shall describe how the project will be a replicable model.
- Applications must provide a 1:1/2 cash match (grant can be up to 66% of total project cost).
Eligible Use of Funding
Rural Enrichment Grants support one-time, direct project expenses that are essential to the completion of the proposed project. The grant request must be dedicated to eligible one-time, direct project expenses, legitimate parts of the proposed project, and must be incurred and expended within the eligible funding period. Applicants that include ineligible expenses in the grant request will be considered ineligible.
Eligible grant request expenses include direct project costs such as:
- Artist Fees (e.g., creation, preparation)
- Domestic Travel (e.g., mileage, accommodation, per diem)
- Personnel Time Dedicated to the Project*
(e.g., planning, execution, evaluation time)
- Professional Services
*Applicant must demonstrate how personnel time is specifically dedicated to the proposed project. Personnel benefits are not eligible.
Eligible Project Examples
The Rural Enrichment Grant program supports projects that enhance the public space in rural communities. The following are examples of eligible projects, please note this list is not exhaustive:
- Public Art & Murals
- Pocket Parks
- Trail Enhancements
INELIGIBLE PROJECT ACTIVITIES AND EXPENSES
Funding for existing projects or programs that do not include significant expansion of the project or program are ineligible. The Rural Enrichment Grant Program does not support ongoing expenses for existing programs or projects.
Ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
- International or domestic travel (outside of Iowa)
- Conference or training expenses for program providers
- Routine, reoccurring maintenance
- Ongoing utilities
- Budget shortfalls
- Fundraising or benefit event activities
- Lobbying activity
- Prizes and awards
ONLINE APPLICATION SUBMISSION
Applicants must apply via IowaGrants.gov, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete, or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants must create a login to view the full application for the program.
Applications will be reviewed for completion, eligibility and adherence to published guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered. Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review by a volunteer panel that includes the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Force members and expert professionals (grant review committee). The grant review committee reserves the right to recommend conditional funding and partial funding of projects. Funding recommendations will be submitted by the committee to the executive director of the IEDA for consideration and approval. The applicant’s authorized official will receive award notification. All funding decisions are final.
Applications must demonstrate evidence of the following:
- Applicant is an eligible candidate.
- Funding request meets eligible project and expense requirements.
- Request is for no less than $1,000 or more than $20,000.
- Request includes proof of 1:1/2 cash match for grant request.
- Project duration does not exceed contract period.
- Application is complete and submitted through IowaGrants.gov.
- Applicant is a local government entity (mayor or city council) or applicant has included a letter of support from the mayor or resolution from the city council.
- Primary Applicant is not named as Primary Applicant on any other applications; however, can be named as partners on additional applications.
Extra consideration is provided to projects that have been endorsed by the Iowa Great Places Citizen’s Advisory Board (additional five points added to score total), those located in a Hometown Pride designated community (additional five points added to score total), as well as those located in a community of 5,000 or fewer (additional five points added to score total).
Additional information, including guidelines and scoring rubric are available on the Empower Rural Iowa web site at https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/empowerruraliowa.