Iowa 4-H Foundation

4-H Forward Grant

4-H Forward

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The Iowa 4-H Foundation has created this grant opportunity to provide multi-year support for locally focused projects that align with the goals of the Iowa 4-H Foundation Strategic Plan. Funds have been committed from the Iowa 4-H Foundation Program Endowment.

Through these grants we should see:

  • Increased enrollment and/or retained members
  • Increased engagement with new audiences of youth
  • Increased capacity of local 4-H resources
  • Replicable concepts developed by pilot counties to recruit, retain, or reach new youth audiences

The Iowa 4-H Foundation will select two projects in 2024. Each recipient county will receive a total of $35,000; $15,000 in year one and $10,000 each in years two & three. These funds should be used to create or expand a program designed to grow 4-H in their county and meet the goals and objectives as outlined in this document.

Grant Requirements

  • Proposals must align with at least one of the Foundation Priority Areas:
    • Opportunity for All: Proposals that support reaching new audiences, providing access to 4-H and engaging all young people.
    • Meeting the Needs of Youth: Proposals that support recruiting and retaining youth in long-term engagement opportunities that maximize the impact and benefit of participation.
    • Support for Innovative programming and local programming: Proposals that solve problems in an innovative way or that help to grow local staff capacity.
  • Proposals must be developed in partnership with 4-H Youth Program Specialists and with support from the Extension Council. 
  • Proposals should focus less on the program utilized and more on the process to be used to reach, retain and engage more 4-H members.
  • Proposal should be replicable for peer counties to implement. 
  • At the end of three years, selected applicants will submit a final report highlighting youth reached, impacts achieved, lessons learned and actionable steps.
  • Year 2 and 3 funding is conditional upon completing yearly progress/outcome and financial reporting prior to the deadline.

Application Process 
Applicants are first invited to submit a letter of inquiry. Letters should not exceed two pages in length, but should provide a general overview of the project, intended outcomes, and proposed annual budget. Submit your letter of inquiry via email to Emily Saveraid at by 5:00 p.m. June 3, 2024.

Letters of Inquiry that best align with Foundation priorities will be invited to submit a full application. Applications must include a letter of support from both the appropriate 4-H Youth Program Specialist and Extension Council. Applicants will be invited to present their proposal to the Iowa 4-H Foundation Board. The Board will make final selections by December 1, 2024.

Use of Funds

  • Funds received from the Foundation must be used to move the local 4-H Program forward through this proposal, and may include personnel expenses (wages, benefits, travel), program expenses (equipment, supplies), support for volunteers and/or youth (curriculum, professional development), etc.
  • Matching funds are not required however, applicants are encouraged to work with local partners to maximize the success of the project.
  • Funding is for the outlined three-year time period only. Funding is not guaranteed nor should be expected following that time. Funding will be evaluated with each year’s progress report to ensure the project is in line with the grant goals and objectives.

Project Timeline
Timeline for Application
June 1: Letters of Inquiry Due
July 1: Finalists Notified
October 1: Full Proposal Applications Due
By November 1: Proposal Presentations to Board
December 1: Final selections announced

Timeline for Awards & Reports
January 1, 2025: Projects kick off, year 1 funding received.
July 1, 2026: Year 2 funding received.
October 1, 2026: Year 1 report and budget due.
July 1, 2027: Year 2 report and budget due. Year 3 funding received.
October 1, 2028: Final Report & budget due.

Award Process 

  • Funds will be awarded directly to the county. If a proposal is a partnership between multiple counties, one county will be designated to receive the funds.
  • Each selected project will be assigned 1-2 Foundation board members to serve as a liaison and support during the project.
  • At the end of each year, awardees will submit reports and budget expenditures. Part of the evaluation will be to make any needed changes to move forward into the next year.
  • The final report at the end of the three-year period should contain actionable information for other counties to replicate.

It is the desire of the Foundation to support successful proposals beyond the grant period. Starting in year two, counties will work with Foundation staff to identify opportunities for local support for the project after the grant period is over, if its continuation is desired.


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