Activating Grant Opportunities in Rural Johnson County

Posted March 26, 2024
Small town in Johnson County, Iowa

Sarah Thompson, Greater IC’s Director of Rural Development, is working with rural communities to support grant writing and disseminate information on funding available from Johnson County this July. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors recently announced the allocation of $300,000 of grant funding to support nonprofit organizations that are at the forefront of economic innovation and environmental stewardship.


The goal of the funding is to support projects that not only drive economic growth but also prioritize equity, local entrepreneurship, and measurable impacts. These grants have been ongoing resources, funding programs such as Field to Family, Wright House of Fashion, Iowa City Bike Library, Public Space One, Kalona Regenerative Network, and The South of Six Business District.  Although rural areas in Johnson County have had access to this funding, they have historically been underrepresented in receiving funds due to a lack of awareness and grant writing capacity. Greater IC’s work supports rural leaders of new businesses, nonprofits, and economic development projects who are ready to take advantage of these grants. 


Due to Greater IC’s efforts and community collaboration, rural Johnson County continues developing as an agritourism destination and the small towns are coming alive with new businesses and unique streetscapes. These county grants could have a significant impact, catalyzing projects already in the works. The success of these projects enhances quality of life for everyone in Johnson County. Prosperous rural areas create unique agritourism experiences, affordable housing options for our workforce, and healthy downtown district environments where small businesses can thrive. 


Johnson County’s current grant opportunities include:  

  • The Economic Development Grants provide operational support for organizations wanting to create a more inclusive economy through promoting equity, local entrepreneurship, and measurable impacts.
    • Application Deadline: Monday, April 22, 2024, at 8:00 AM 


  • The Quality-of-Life Grants aim to empower organizations that have made sustainability and conservation core tenets of their mission. Whether it is through operational support or programmatic initiatives, the county is looking for proposals that bring innovative solutions to environmental challenges and contribute to the long-term well-being of residents.
    • Application Deadline: Monday, April 22, 2024, at 8:00 AM 


  • The Community Food and Farm Grant is designed to fuel the growth of farm and food businesses that are rooted in our communities. With funding ranging from $1,000 to $25,000, the grants aim to support projects that:
    • Expand the production, processing, cooking, or distribution of community-based food.
    • Provide education and technical assistance to enhance the skills of workers and entrepreneurs within the farm and food business sector.
    • Increase access to community-based food for low-income communities, ensuring that all residents can enjoy the fruits of local labor.
    • Application deadline: Friday, April 12, 2024, at 4:30 PM 


Eligible organizations in Johnson County with 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 tax status can apply and find application support by visiting the online grant portal at or