DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority announced more than $500,000 in grant funds for rural communities across the state through the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.

“The Empower Rural Iowa Initiative has played a key role in transforming our rural communities by expanding broadband access and affordable housing options, which are essential to the growth and retention of our state,” Gov. Reynolds said. “These programs help turn innovative ideas into reality for small communities across Iowa, paving the way for opportunity and prosperity for generations to come.”

The grant covers 38 projects across the state. Some of the Siouxland communities receiving funding are Orange City, Emmetsburg, and Sibley.

“Rural communities are the backbone of our state, and this latest round of grants will help them tackle tough challenges like housing, childcare, and recruitment,” said Lt. Governor Adam Gregg. “The Empower Rural Iowa initiative looks forward to building on this success and further ensuring opportunity and prosperity are present in all corners of Iowa.” 

The Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative developed the following grant programs for rural communities:  

  • The Rural Innovation Grant program supports creative, nontraditional ideas to overcome rural community development challenges, such as workforce development and housing shortages.  
  • The Rural Housing Assessment Grant program supports efforts to expand access to quality housing tailored to communities. The program leverages data from the Iowa Finance Authority’s Profile of Iowa tool and provides support through a partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.   
  • The new Rural Return and Rural Child Care Market Study grant programs: The Rural Return Grant program supports creative programming that attracts new residents to move and/or work in rural communities. The Rural Child Care Market Study Grant program supports the use of data and analysis by rural communities, in partnership with First Children’s Finance, to determine the specific needs and solutions for their area.

In addition to the Rural Return and Rural Innovation grants, Red Oak, Albia, Ocheyedan, Emmetsburg, Columbus Junction, Ashton, Sibley, Wapello, Keota, and Buffalo received Rural Housing Assessment grants and will be working with Iowa State University Office of Extension and Outreach to undergo a facilitated readiness assessment and implementation process. 

Keosauqua, Emmetsburg, Lee County, Clarinda, Grinnell, Forest City, and Wayne County received Rural Child Care Market Study grants and will be working with First Children’s Finance to undergo a data and analysis study. 

More information on the Center for Rural Revitalization programs can be found here or by contacting Liesl Seabert at Rural@iowaeda.com.  

A full list of the 2022 Rural Grant recipients is available here