Rural Child Care Market Study Program

Seeks to support the use of data and analysis to determine solutions addressing child care challenges

Child care is a challenge across rural communities in Iowa and across the nation. However, the solutions are often more complicated than the construction of a new facility. Many factors need to be carefully analyzed to first determine the market feasibility for development of a child care center, expansion of an existing one or support for in-home providers.

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. Through greater understanding of their geographic market, demographics, competition and other factors, communities can be armed with the information needed to take proactive steps towards addressing child care challenges. In partnership with First Children’s Finance, funding from the program will empower communities to assess their current child care market environment and develop strategies.

The following entities are eligible to apply:

  • City and county governments or federally recognized tribal governments physically located in Iowa;
  • 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 nonprofit agencies and foundations;  
  • Public and private schools that serve grades pre-K through 12 and physically located in Iowa; and
  • Higher education institutions located in Iowa.

The study must take place 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. If a county-wide application, must be within one of the 88 least-populous counties in Iowa. Any eligible applicant may submit an application that includes one or more partners and may apply on behalf of multiple cities or an entire county if the county is one of the 88 least-populous counties in Iowa.

Application Window Opens October 1 on

Please review the Grant Guidelines found in the Resources area below for additional information on eligibility requirements, use of funding, reporting requirements and the review process. A copy of the scoring rubric has also been provided.

The deadline to apply for funding is 11:59 p.m., Dec. 1. Applicants must submit applications via, the 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.

For more information, contact:

Liesl Seabert