The Country School Grant Program is a part of the Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) and is established in the Code of Iowa, Chapter 303.16. Administrative rules for the program are found in Iowa Administrative Code 223—49. The following items apply to all projects funded through HRDP.
- The Resource Enhancement and Protection/Historical Resource Development Program (REAP/HRDP) is funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act (REAP). The purpose of the REAP/HRDP Grants Program is to provide funds to preserve, conserve, interpret, enhance, and educate the public about the historical resources of Iowa.
- All projects must involve Iowa’s historical resources. Non-residents may apply if the project resource is located in Iowa.
- All projects involving personal property must, upon request, document a legal relationship to the property and/or owner agreement to the project.
- Funded projects will encourage and support the economic and cultural health and development of the state and the communities in which the resources are located.
- The Country School grant program is a small program, with up to $25,000 allocated to it each year. The maximum award to any one applicant is $5,000 per year.
- Country School grants are intended for the preservation of one-room and two-room buildings once used as country schools in Iowa.
The HRDP Country School Grant Program was created by legislation in 1999. The main focus of the program is to preserve one-room and two-room buildings once used as country schools. Over 20 years:
- Nearly $240,000 in grant funds have been awarded for country school projects across the state.
- Nearly 60 projects have been funded.
- Samples of successful applications are available to applicants upon request.
- Funded applicants (grantees) will receive 50% of their grant dollars at the time of award. At the conclusion of each project, the grantee is responsible for submitting a final report and claim. The final report must document both the grant and matching funds. Upon acceptance of the final report, the state will pay the grantee for the remainder of the grant. If a project is not completed in accordance with REAP/HRDP program requirements, the grantee may be required to return grant funds to the state.
Applicants must submit applications via the State Historical Society of Iowa’s SlideRoom, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted.
The following entities are eligible to receive Country School Grant Program funds:
- Nonprofit corporations
- Governmental units (Only governmental units that are considered Certified Local Governments (CLGs) in good standing can apply in the historic preservation category).
- Traditional tribal societies and governments of recognized resident American Indian tribes in Iowa
- Private corporations and businesses
The project must involve a building that once served as a one or two room school building.
The following broad project types can be funded with Country School Program grants:
- Acquisition and development of historical resources
- Preservation and conservation of historical resources
- Interpretation of historical resources
- Professional training and educational programs on the acquisition, development, preservation, conservation and interpretation of historical resources
All funded projects must fall within one of the following grant categories. Please read the appropriate instruction guide, linked below, for your proposed project.
Each category has specific requirements. Carefully review the specific guidance document for your project category.
Application Deadline and Project Schedule
Grant applications for the Resource Enhancement and Protection/Country School Grant Program FY 2022 grant cycle must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. CDT, May 3, 2021.
Projects funded in this grant cycle will begin on July 1, 2021. Projects must be completed by November 30, 2023. Final report forms must be completed by December 31, 2023.
Application Review and Approval
Submitted applications are reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility, and adherence to published funding priorities and guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered.
Eligible applications will be reviewed and scored by the grant review panel. The panel will be composed of a minimum of three members, including at least two public members and one historical division staff member.
- For documentary collections applications, the public members will be representatives from the Iowa Historical Records Advisory Board. The historical division staff member(s) serving on the review panel will be professionally trained in the archives discipline.
- For historic preservation applications, the public members will be representatives from the State Nominations Review Committee or historic preservation professionals. The historical division staff member(s) serving on the review panel will be professionally trained in the historic preservation discipline.
- For museum applications, the public members will be Iowa museum professionals. The historical division staff member(s) serving on the review panel will be professionally trained in the museum discipline.
The recommendations of the review panel will be forwarded to the department director and the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees will consider the panel recommendations, and then make a recommendation to the department director, who makes final funding decisions.
Projects will be evaluated on the following four criteria:
- The plans for the preservation and maintenance of the specific country school building
- The educational uses planned for the country school building
- The quality of the proposed scope of work
- The degree to which the budget is reasonable, appropriate to the project, complete and mathematically correct
The Country School Grant Program scoring rubric will be used by reviewers to assign points to the applications.
All applicants will be notified of funding decisions by July 1, 2021 via email. Shortly after, grantees will receive an electronic contract for review and signature. The State will retain one fully-signed contract and will email a fully-signed contract to the grantee in early July.
Upon receipt of the signed contract, the grantee may proceed with the project.
If your project is in the historic preservation category, we will schedule a kick-off conference call between the grantee and the State Historic Preservation Office prior to project work beginning.
Preparing Your Budget and Matching Funds
- Cash Match: The cash donations (including items or services) provided by the applicant and revenues and grants expected or received for the project.
- In-kind Match: These are the goods and services (not cash) that are donated by individuals or organizations other than the applicant. The dollar amount should be calculated at verifiable fair-market value. Donated labor shall be calculated at the State's minimum wage rate (presume $7.25 per hour) unless the individual providing the donated labor is regularly employed in that occupation, and can document a higher wage rate.
- Country School grants require dollar-for-dollar match. At least one-half of the match must be in cash.
- Please include estimates to support your budget figures, if applicable.
- Applicants are not required to have their match dollars in hand at the time of application, but the match dollars must be available, as appropriate, so that the project can be completed within the contract period. Final grant reimbursement will not be made until all required match has been spent.
- Grant awards to combined applicants shall use the least favorable match ratio. Thus, for example, a private business and a non-profit organization could be co-applicants on a project, but the project would be required to use the business match ratio.
- Please use only whole dollar amounts for your budget figures.
- All costs must represent expenditures that are necessary to the accomplishment of the grant objectives and are outlined in the budget. Make sure that each cost in your budget represents an expense that is needed to support the proposed grant activity.
- Indirect expenses (overhead) cannot be used as cash match, in-kind match, or grant expense. Overhead includes items such as, but not limited to, rent and utilities.
- All expenditures (including grant dollars, cash match and in-kind match) must be made during the contract period (July 1, 2021-November 30, 2023).
- Grant projects cannot begin before the grantee receives a fully-signed contract. Expenses incurred prior to the contract start date cannot be included in a project.
- FICA and unemployment taxes are eligible expenses.
- Costs of producing any required reports and products are eligible grant expenses.
- Mileage costs should be calculated at 39 cents per mile.
- The costs of preparing the grant application are not eligible grant expenses.
- Lobbying is not an eligible grant expense.
- Public relations and marketing are not eligible grant expenses.
All projects must comply with certain nationally-accepted professional standards. Applicants must demonstrate knowledge of, and intention and ability to adhere to the professional standards that pertain to the grant category to which they are applying.
Every project in the historic preservation category must involve a trained professional in a discipline appropriate to the project scope. Projects in the documentary collections and museums categories are strongly encouraged to involve a trained professional in a discipline appropriate to the project scope. Applications should include relevant job descriptions and professional credentials if the grant project utilizes the skills of a trained professional.
The law creating the Historical Resource Development Program stipulates several restrictions. Read these restrictions carefully. The Historical Resource Development Program grants manager, the Resource Enhancement and Protection/Historical Resource Development Program grants steering committee, the Resource Enhancement and Protection/Historical Resource Development Program grants review panel, the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees, and the department director will consider these restrictions as funding requests are evaluated. These restrictions are:
- Grant funds shall not be used to support public relations or marketing expenses.
- The Resource Enhancement and Protection/Historical Resource Development Program/Country School Grant Program shall not award grants to be used for goods or services obtained outside the state, unless the grantee demonstrates that it is neither feasible nor prudent to obtain the goods or services within the state.
- Any applicant who receives a direct or indirect appropriation from the Legislature for a project or portion of a project is ineligible for a Country School Program grant for that same project during the fiscal year for which the appropriation is made. The "project" includes any related activities, such as construction, restoration, supplies, equipment, consulting, or other services.
- No appropriated state funds shall be used by a grantee to match the grantee’s Country School Program grant.
- An applicant shall not apply for or use any program funds for the purpose of re-granting.
- The grantee, a member of the grantee’s family or grantee’s board members cannot be paid with Country School Program grant funds for work completed as part of the grant project.
- All government, nonprofit corporation, or American Indian tribe applicants shall demonstrate that the historical resource is accessible to the public no less than an average of 16 hours per week or shall provide a statement concerning actions to be taken in the forthcoming 36 months after the grant award to provide the above-specified accessibility of the funded project to the public, unless access is restricted by specific federal or state code. Archaeological sites that are part of funded projects are not required by this program to be accessible to the public. Public engagement via the internet can count toward this public access requirement. The web content must be directly connected to the historical resources that are the subject of this project and the project itself.
- All private corporations, businesses, and individual applicants shall demonstrate that the historical resources which benefit from being acquired, developed or preserved, or the portions of the historical resource so benefited, shall be accessible to the public no less than an average of 96 hours per year or shall provide a statement concerning actions to be taken in the forthcoming 36 months after the grant award to provide the above-specified accessibility of the funded project to the public, unless access is restricted by specific federal or state code. Archaeological sites that are part of funded projects are not required by this program to be accessible to the public. Public engagement via the internet can count toward this public access requirement. The web content must be directly connected to the historical resources that are the subject of this project and the project itself.
- An applicant may not submit more than one application in any single category in any grant cycle. Only one eligible application per grant category from a single applicant will be reviewed.
- An applicant may not submit more than two applications in any grant cycle. A second grant application must be submitted in a different category than the first.
- Applicants funded in two consecutive fiscal years in the same grant category are not eligible to receive funding in the same grant category during the next fiscal year.
- Not more than twenty percent of the grant funds allocated in a fiscal year shall be given to or received by state agencies and institutions, or their representatives or agents.
- Not more than one hundred thousand dollars or ten percent of the annual appropriation, whichever is more, shall be granted to any single recipient or its agent within a single fiscal year.
- Not more than one hundred thousand dollars or twenty percent of the annual appropriation, whichever is more, shall be granted to recipients within a single county in any given grant cycle.
- Provide color photographs to illustrate various aspects of the proposed project. The photographs should show the historical resource and illustrate the need for grant funds.
- The exception to the color photograph requirement is historic photographs that are not available in color.
- All images should be in focus with proper exposure.
- The minimum resolution must be 300 dpi.
- Please attach a digital file to the application for each photograph. Please label the photographs to describe what is in each photograph. You must attach at least one image and no more than five.
- If you are unable to limit the number of images to five, you may create a pdf document with multiple photographs, as long as the file size does not exceed 10 MB.
- Image files must be less than 5MB and PDF files must be less than 10MB.
Substitute W-9/Vendor Update Form
In the event that you are awarded a grant, for the State of Iowa to pay you the amount due to you and to comply with IRS regulations on reporting these payments, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs requires the grantee complete a substitute W-9/Vendor Form. Failure to provide this information will result in withholding of payment. This form is filled out by the applicant and must be signed by an authorizing official of the grantee. Funded applicants will receive this form with the contract.
Minority Impact Questionnaire
Pursuant to 2008 Iowa Acts, HF 2393, Iowa Code Section 8.11, all grant applications submitted to the State of Iowa which are due beginning January 1, 2009 shall include a Minority Impact Statement. This is the state’s mechanism to require grant applicants to consider the potential impact of the grant project’s proposed programs or policies on minority groups. Please follow the instructions on the form provided.