Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Gov. Reynolds Announces $400,000 for Rural Innovation Projects and Housing Studies

June 18, 2021

For more information, contact:

Staci Hupp Ballard
Iowa Economic Development Authority

Gov. Reynolds Announces $400,000 for Rural Innovation Projects and Housing Studies in 26 Iowa Communities
Grant programs are part of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative

June 18, 2021 (DES MOINES) – Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority today announced $400,000 in grant funding awarded to 26 projects that will help grow and revitalize rural communities across the state.

“The Rural Innovation Grant program and the Rural Housing Assessment Grant program help turn innovative ideas into reality for so many small communities across Iowa, paving the way for opportunity and prosperity for generations to come,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative continues to bring together stakeholders from all walks of life who are focused on growing our rural communities.”

“We’re building on the success of last year’s launch of these transformative grants with a second round of projects that will serve as models for rural revitalization across the state,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. “The governor and I look forward to seeing the projects that step forward to apply.”

The Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative developed the following grant programs in 2019 for rural communities of fewer than 20,000 people:

  • The Rural Innovation Grant program supports creative ideas to overcome rural community development challenges, such as workforce development and housing shortages.  
  • The Rural Housing Assessment 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 grants cover 26 projects across the state. For example:

  • The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque plans to use Rural Innovation funding to establish a “reverse scholarship” program with local universities that serves as an incentive to attract newly minted teachers to rural eastern Iowa. The funds will be used to market the opportunity, develop curriculum and mentoring programs to prepare college students to be teacher-leaders in rural communities, and raise private dollars for scholarship awards.
  • Al Exito will use Rural Innovation funding to develop Latinx leaders in Hampton, Tama and Perry. Al Éxito (AÉ) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the educational achievement and leadership capacity of Latinx youth and their families to succeed in life and participate fully in Iowa. This project includes a year-long intensive program to educate Latinx youth on leadership skill development, foster community connection and establish a cohort of leaders.

In addition to the Rural Innovation Grants, the cities of Atlantic, Grinnell, Livermore, Mount Ayr, Onawa, Rock Valley, Sheldon and Shenandoah received Rural Housing Assessment grants and will participate in readiness assessment and implementation process in partnership with Iowa State University Office of Extension and Outreach.

A full list of grant recipients is available at


Stay Informed.

Sign Up to Receive Updates