New micro-grant rural initiatives program

GRINNELL — Beginning this fall, Grin City Collective will kick off a new micro-grant program aimed at supporting creative, rural initiatives occurring within a 40-mile radius of Grinnell.

“Creative work is not limited to cities, yet often that is where the funding stays,” said Grin City’s Molly Rideout. “We know that many people have the same vision for rural Iowa that we do. We want to support their work in their own communities.”

The new program builds on over a decade of Grin City programming with the conviction that when a community comes together to share experiences, skills or stories, it is more likely to invest personally in the collective improvement of that community and the people who share it.

The grant will be open to individuals, not organizations, to support the creative ideas of artists, community organizers, craftspeople and entrepreneurs who wish to execute a project focused around “the collaborative act of making.” How the applicant wishes to interpret that directive is up to them, be it a sculpture, a play, a dinner, a garden or something else entirely.

“Micro-grants can help launch projects, drive innovation and encourage artists and others to move in new directions,” said Bill Menner, vice-president of Grin City’s board of directors. “It’s amazing how far a little bit of money will go!”

Requests for up to $1,000 will be accepted as well as requests for professional support, advice or best practices, because sometimes a project needs expertise as much as it needs cash. Drawing from Grin City’s network of more than 200 professional artists and community organizers, the organization will connect the grantee with an expert on their particular question to support the initiatives from all possible angles. The first round of applications is due Nov. 1.

The program’s 40-mile radius includes Tama, Toledo, Marshalltown, Knoxville, Pella, Oskaloosa, Williamsburg and Newton, although the funding priority is for communities with fewer than 10,000 people.

Grin City’s ultimate goal is to strengthen rural vibrancy and dialogue through two concurrent programs: one that directly commissions and executes creative projects, such as last year’s Community Resource Guide and Social Crossings Toolkit, and one that supports other, local practitioners in their own, similar work.

Grant details are available online at: grincitycollective.org/grants

Each year’s micro-grant pot will depend on community financial support. The more raised, the more activities will be possible in rural Iowa. To become a supporter, visit www.grincitycollective.org and click on “Support.” Grin City Collective is an independent arts nonprofit in Grinnell.