Rural Leadership Program

Empower Rural Iowa

The Rural Leadership program provides training, mentorship and funding to rural communities and regions initiating leadership programs. This program is a result of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’s 2018 Recommendations. If Iowa wants rural communities to survive and thrive, it will take strong local leadership. Many rural communities have created effective leadership programs, as have various Iowa industries. Leveraging these efforts as examples and partners, this program targets rural communities who want to start a local leadership program and work to engage participants in community leadership roles. Grantees will participate in a two-day bootcamp resulting in a work plan and a one-year mentorship.

The program is administered by the Center for Rural Revitalization, a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, in consultation with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Forces.

  • City or county governments
  • Private 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 nonprofit agencies
  • Foundations
  • Non-local government applicants must include a letter of support from the mayor or resolution from the city council
  • Programs must exist 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 OR if a county-wide program, must be one of the 88 least populous counties in Iowa
  • Applications period opens via IowaGrants.gov beginning July 16
  • Annual, competitive application round
  • All applications will be reviewed by a panel
  • The following categories are evaluated when selecting awardees:
    • Participation and Timing
    • Program Description and Background
    • Core Team Diversity and Partnerships
    • Participation Goals and Implementation Plan
    • Budget and Local Support
    • Geography and Population
For more information, contact:

Liesl Seabert

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