Iowa City nonprofits could benefit from a proposed grant with the city’s COVID-19 relief funds

The program would provide eligible Iowa City nonprofits with $1-3 million in funding to expand and improve their facilities.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

The Iowa City City Council is seen during a meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

Isabelle Foland, News Reporter

Nonprofits in Iowa City could see improvements to their facilities through a proposed grant program funded by the city’s federal COVID-19 relief dollars. 

According to a memo sent to the city council by City Manager Geoff Fruin on Dec. 1, the city will allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds for the proposed program. This kind of grant falls under the strategic investment priorities the city outlined in 2021.

RELATED: Johnson County, Iowa City to work together to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds

This memo was released in the city’s Dec. 1 information packet and has yet to be acted on by the city council.

The memo states there will only be one to three grants awarded, with individual amounts ranging from $1-3 million. The due date for applications will be on Jan. 31, 2023.

After that date, a review committee of city staff and one or two city councilors will review the applications and work on a full proposal and grant agreement for the entire city council to vote on. 

As part of the review process, the committee may interview a representative from the nonprofit to gather more information or clarify project intent or details.

According to the memo, Iowa City nonprofits are eligible for the grant if they:  

  • Are considered and meet the financial reporting standards for a legacy agency, which is a grant through the city’s Aid to Agencies program that offers money for public services that assist low-income residents in Iowa City.
  • Have a primary mission to serve the community in the fields of housing, food security, mental and general health care, and/or youth services. 

The funds given must be used entirely by Oct. 31, 2026, unless permitted by the city after submitting a timeframe of when the funds will be expended. 

In August, the city had a similar program using ARPA funds for nonprofit operating assistance. 

The council has agreed in the past to allocate ARPA funds to Iowa City nonprofits including Shelter House and the Center for Worker Justice.

According to Iowa City’s ARPA Funds website, the previous grant program allocated $400,000 to nonprofit organizations in Iowa City that needed extra funding to go toward homelessness and housing assistance, childcare services, health care, and food assistance.

Because of the long-term nature of a capital project, Iowa City staff recommends a different application process than the one used for the operational assistance program, the memo states.

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