Today, Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced that more than $470,000 in grants have been awarded to rural communities through seven Empower Rural Iowa Grant programs. The grant awards will support rural initiatives including childcare, housing and leadership development.  

“Rural communities are at the heart of who we are as a state, and we’re committed to ensuring they continue to grow and prosper,” Governor Reynolds said. “These grant opportunities will provide the tools that leaders and innovators need to build vibrant communities in all corners of the state, making Iowa an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”  

For example, the city of Logan will use a Rural Enrichment Grant to help implement its first-ever city-wide trail system. The Carroll County Growth Partnership will use a Rural Innovation Grant to build out a regional hub for entrepreneurs. Buchanan County and Story County will benefit from the Rural Leadership Bootcamp Grant to help launch local leadership programs. And seven cities will benefit from Rural Housing Assessment Grants to help understand and improve local housing conditions. A full list of the 2023 Rural Grant recipients is available here

The grant awards are part of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, which Governor Reynolds created through Executive Order 3 in 2018. Since its inception, Empower Rural Iowa has successfully developed policies that positively impact rural communities through grant funding, creative programming and advocacy that drives investment, growth and connectivity in rural Iowa.  

Today, the Governor announced Executive Order 11 which amends Executive Order 3 and updates the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative's strategic focus to function as a startup incubator for innovative rural policy. This model follows the design of the recently launched Iowa United First Aid, an innovative pilot program aimed at decreasing emergency response times in rural Iowa.  Other changes are designed to streamline operations for efficiency, including a transition from three task forces to one. The initiative will continue to be co-chaired by Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and a representative from the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) appointed by the Governor.  

"I'm excited to work with the restructured committee, with a clear focus on innovative and impactful rural policy,” said Lt. Governor Gregg. “We look forward to building on programs like Iowa United First Aid as we address some of the tough challenges and amazing opportunities in rural Iowa." 

The Executive Order can be found here.  

For more information on the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, visit