Empower Rural Iowa

Revitalizing Iowa

Connecting, Investing & Growing Iowa's Rural Communities

The Center for Rural Revitalization, housed within the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Empower Rural Iowa (ERI) initiative, implementing ERI task force recommendations, acting as a liaison to rural communities and helping small communities access programs that support rural areas. 

The Governor’s ERI initiative was created by executive order in July 2018. It is a partnership with the Iowa Rural Development Council (IDRC) and co-chaired by Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and IRDC Chair Sandy Ehrig. The Empower Rural Iowa Act also created three task forces, which develop recommendations for Gov. Kim Reynolds in advance of each legislative session:

  • Investing in Rural Iowa – created to address the rural housing shortage and develop strategies to support rural businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Growing Rural Iowa – created to address leadership, recruitment and retention in rural communities
  • Connecting Rural Iowa – created to address the issue of financing broadband connectivity
  • 2019 Task Force Recommendations
  • 2018 Task Force Recommendations

IEDA’s community development programs provide support for downtown development projects. For more information on best practices and resources for revitalizing rural communities, visit the Iowa Rural Development Council. For updates on ERI meetings and resources, follow Empower Rural Iowa on Facebook and Twitter.

External Links

Rural Housing Assessment Grant Program

The Rural Housing Assessment Grant program supports the use of publicly available, online information through the “Profile of Iowa” tool and rural community efforts to interpret publicly available hard data to implement changes through development codes, local ordinances and housing incentives specific to individual community needs. This program is a result of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’s 2018 Recommendations.

In partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Rural Housing Readiness Assessment workshops, program funding will empower communities to assess their current development environment and enact changes resulting in the creation of policies and procedures attractive to potential developers.

The program is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) Center for Rural Revitalization in consultation with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Forces and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Applications are due for FY2021 on October 15, 2020 and funding decisions will be made on November 1, 2020.

Rural Innovation Grant Program

The Rural Innovation Grant program supports creative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by rural communities associated with the themes of community investment, growth and connection. This program is a result of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’s 2018 Recommendations.

The application period for the Rural Innovation Grant has closed for FY2021.

For more information, contact:

Liesl Seabert