Strengthening Communities Grants support nonprofit organizations committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility for costs associated with the renovation and maintenance of facility infrastructure at facilities located in cities with a population of less than 28,000 as determined by the 2010 federal decennial census. Eligible facility infrastructure projects involve the renovation or maintenance of existing facilities, as defined by Iowa Code 8.57. Applicants must adhere to the funding policies of the Iowa Arts Council.
Funding for the program is made possible through an appropriation of $250,000 by the Iowa Legislature to the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs through the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. The program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council on behalf of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
October 1, 2020 | FY2021 Application opens
November 20, 2020 | Application Deadline
The deadline to submit a full online application to the program is 11:59 PM, November 20, 2020 for the funding period of January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2023.
December 22, 2020 | Funding Decision Notification
Applicants will be notified of funding award decisions by December 22, 2020.
Grant Request Amount
Applicants may request grant funding for eligible facility infrastructure expenses within the minimum and maximum restrictions listed below.
- Minimum Grant Request: $10,000
- Maximum Grant Request: $100,000
Applicants are required to provide a cash match that is a minimum of 50% of the total grant amount requested from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The cash match must be secured, dedicated to eligible facility infrastructure expenses, a legitimate part of the proposed facility infrastructure project and must be expended within the eligible funding period. The 1:1⁄2 match requirement may be raised through a combination of public and private sources, but may not include in-kind donations of goods or services, unsecured funding, loans or other funding from the State of Iowa.
All project activities and incurred expenses must occur within the eligible funding period of January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2023. Funding is awarded to grant recipients on a reimbursement basis after expenses have been incurred for approved project activities.
Eligible facility infrastructure projects must involve the renovation or maintenance of existing facilities as defined by the Iowa Code 8.57 that are located in the applicant city for the purpose of fulfilling a social need related to youth development, healthy living or social responsibility. Eligible projects must have a beginning and end date within the funding period.
Eligible Project Activities
- Land acquisition
- Major renovation or routine, recurring maintenance of building or appurtenant structure
- Site development
Ineligible Project Activities
- For profit entities
- Entities acting as fiscal agents
- Public and private schools that serve grades pre-K through 12 and are located in Iowa
- Unit of local, county or federally-recognized tribal government
- Lease of a building, appurtenant structure or utility without a lease-purchase agreement
- Operating expenses
- Ongoing utilities
- Stand-alone design or planning phase
Eligible applicants must be the following type of entity. Entities who do not meet these requirements are not eligible to apply.
- Federally tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated and physically located in an Iowa city with a population of less than 28,000 as determined by the 2010 federal decennial census
- Committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grant recipients who have an outstanding final report
- Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grant recipients who have received a grant from the department for any part of the project
- Iowa Arts Council administered grantees who have already received a grant from the department for the current application funding period. Cultural Leadership Partners, Iowa Great Places and Rural YMCA Facility Improvement Grant recipients with an active grant contract are not eligible to apply.
Online Application Submission
Applicants must submit applications via the Iowa Arts Council’s SlideRoom, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants can access the current online application requirements at iowaartscouncil.slideroom.com. Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit help.liaisonedu.com for SlideRoom assistance related to the online submission.
Submitted applications will be reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility and adherence to published guidelines. Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review panel with appropriate expertise commensurate to the purpose of the grant program. Panel recommendations are submitted to the Administrator of the Iowa Arts Council for consideration and to the Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for funding approval. All funding decisions are final.
The Strengthening Communities Grant Scoring Rubric will be used to evaluate grant applications. Each section has criteria and corresponding point values to ensure a fair review process. The rubric is on a scale of 27 points.
|APPLICANT PROFILE: 3 points possible|
|3 Applicant provides exceptional programming or services that clearly advance its mission and serve its target population. Applicant demonstrates a strong record of organizational progress through relevant notable achievements and strategic priorities.||2 Applicant offers programming or services that support its mission and target population. Relevant notable achievements or strategic priorities are identified.||1 Applicant’s programming or services are limited, unclear or do not support its mission or serve its target population. Relevant notable achievements or strategic priorities are not identified.|
|PROJECT DESCRIPTION: 3 points possible|
|3 Project goals related to youth development, healthy living or social responsibility are exemplary and clearly advance the applicant’s organizational mission. Project fulfills an essential need to renovate or repair a facility to maintain or expand existing services to the community.||2 Project goals related to youth development, healthy living or social responsibility are identified and relate to the applicant’s organizational mission. Project identifies a need to renovate or repair a facility to maintain or expand existing services to the community.||1 Project goals related to youth development, healthy living or social responsibility are unclear or do not relate to the applicant’s organizational mission. Project does not fulfill a need to renovate or repair a facility to maintain or expand existing services to the community.|
|PUBLIC ACCESS: 3 points possible|
|3 Target population for the project is well-defined and its relevance to the project evident. Project will be highly accessible due to clear and deliberate plans for facility accessibility and to disseminate enhanced programming or services to the target population.||2 Target population for the project is identified. Plans for facility accessibility and to disseminate programming or services are satisfactory.||1 Target population for the project is unclear. Plans for facility accessibility and to disseminate programming or services are unclear or inadequate.|
|PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: 3 points possible|
|3 Project has strong, measurable implementation objectives. Project will be successfully realized through a clear timeline of activities or tasks. Project demonstrates strong support through multiple, diverse logistical partners. Key partner responsibilities are well-defined and enhance the project.||2 Project is achievable through identified measurable implementation objectives and timeline of activities or tasks. Project is supported by partners. Key partner roles and responsibilities are identified.||1 Project implementation objectives are unclear or not measurable. Multiple concerns about project achievability. Timeline of activities or tasks is insufficient. Key partner roles and responsibilities are unclear or not identified.|
|PROJECT EVALUATION: 3 points possible|
|3 Project uses strong measures and methods to analyze achievement of goals and objectives. Evaluative results will clearly and appropriately inform future maintenance and management of projects undertaken by the applicant.||2 Project identifies methods or measures to analyze achievement of arts goals or implementation objectives.||1 Methods and measurements to analyze achievement goals and implementation objectives are unclear or inadequate. Evaluation results will not inform the future maintenance and management of the project.|
|PROJECT BUDGET: 3 points possible|
|3 Project budget and intended use of requested funds are clear and appropriate. Project demonstrates financial support by leveraging diverse sources of local and private cash match that are well-defined.||2 Project budget, intended use of requested funds and sources of applicant match are identified and adequate.||1 Project budget, intended use of requested funds or sources of applicant match are unclear or inadequate.|
|COMMUNITY SUPPORT LETTER: 3 points possible|
|3 Community support letter is highly relevant to the project, demonstrates a vested interest in the project and supports the project’s excellence.||2 Community support letter relates to the project and is of average quality.||1 Community support letter is not relevant to the project, of poor quality, or does not demonstrate a vested interest in the project.|
|SUPPORT MATERIAL: 3 points possible|
|3 Support material is highly relevant to the project and supports the project’s excellence.||2 Support material relates to the project and is of average quality.||1 Support material is not relevant to the project, of poor quality, or does not support the project’s excellence.|
|GRANTSMANSHIP & CASE FOR SUPPORT: 3 points possible|
|3 Application is clear, concise and well-composed. Application makes exemplary case for support and merits state investment.||2 Application is clear. Case for support is adequate and merits state investment.||1 Application is unclear and/or poorly composed. Case for support is inadequate and/or does not merit state investment.|
Glossary of Terms and Definitions
Applicants should refer to the glossary for clarification of program terms and definitions.
Potential applicants are encouraged to review all published material and contact Jennie Knoebel, at 515-242-6194 or firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions well in advance of application deadlines.