Empower Rural Iowa

Revitalizing Iowa

Connecting, Growing and Investing in Iowa's Rural Communities

Empower Rural Iowa 2020 Recommendations
Read the 2020 Empower Rural Iowa Task Force Recommendations

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. 

Annual Task Force Recommendations

NEW - FY 2022 Grant Recipients Announced

Over $500,000 in grant funding was awarded to rural communities across the state, including the Rural Innovation Grant, Rural Housing Assessment Grant, Rural Return Grant, Rural Child Care Market Study Grant and the Rural Leadership Bootcamp. This is the inaugural round for the Rural Return and Rural Child Care Market Study 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.

Download a copy of the Fiscal Year 2022 grant recipients.

The Governor’s ERI initiative was created by executive order in 2018. It is a partnership with the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) 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

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.

Empower Rural Iowa Grant Programs

Rural Child Care Market Study Program

The Rural Child Care Market Study Grant program seeks to support the use of data and analysis by rural communities to determine the specific needs and solutions for their area. Learn more here.

Rural Return Program

The Rural Return Grant program seeks to support creative programming that attracts new residents to move and/or work in rural communities. Learn more here.

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. Learn more here.

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. Learn more here.

Rural Leadership Grant Program

The Rural Leadership Grant program provides training, mentorship and funding to rural communities and regions initiating leadership programs. Learn more here.

For more information, contact:

Liesl Seabert

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