AgVA Grant Program

Overview

Grants under this program will include but will not be limited to sponsorships of adult and youth programs, training, conferences, workshops, events and other gatherings. All applicants must be non-profit organizations and have tax exempt status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Recently, the program’s emphasis and guidelines have changed to reflect the evolution of AgVA over the past decade and to better align it with AgVA’s strategic plan. There will be an attempt to focus on the following areas:

• Programs that meet nutritional, educational or leadership needs of rural youth;
• Activities that support the goals outlined in Ag Ventures Alliance’s strategic plan;
• Mentoring, training and other programs for young and beginning farmers;
• Continuing education and training for existing farmers;
• Local events in rural communities that promote agriculture or local foods; and,
• Agricultural entrepreneurship education and training

Grants may be provided for local, state or regional programs/events. Those either located in or of benefit to our members or their communities shall have priority over others. Grants may be made for one, two or three year periods and will be distributed in multi-year allocations. However grantees must meet prescribed milestones for the previous year in order to draw down funds for years two and three. Multi-year grants will be contingent on the AgVA Grant Program budget having adequate fund to meet multi- year obligations.
year obligations.

Program Guidelines

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
Applicants must be organized as a non-profit organization and have tax exempt status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

GRANT CEILINGS
• No recipient may receive more than $10,000 per year from the AgVA Grant Program, however multi-year grants can be made for up to $30,000 with no more than $10,000 coming from any single budget year.
• Although grants are considered every quarter. Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead because organizations are prohibited from receiving funding more than once each year.

FUNDING CRITERIA
The AgVA Grant Committee will be focusing on the following criteria in evaluating the applications.

  • Focus on one or more of the following:
    • Local events in rural communities that promote agriculture or local foods;
    • Agricultural entrepreneurship education and training
    • Continuing education and training for existing farmers;
    • Programs that meet nutritional, educational or leadership needs of rural youth;
    • Mentoring, training and other programs for young and beginning farmers;
    • Activities that support the mission and vision outlined in Ag Ventures Alliance’s strategic plan;
  • The feasibility of the proposal and the likelihood that the project can be carried out effectively, on time and within budget, factors such as adequate planning, management & organization skills, relevant experience and adequate financing will be considered.
  • Provide exposure for Ag Ventures Alliance organization.
  • Provide value to AgVA members and their communities.
  • Work with existing structures to “complement” (not compete) with existing organizations.
  • Investigate potential to leverage our funding with USDA and other grants.
  • Assess and compare impact per dollar of contribution.
  • Greater consideration will be given to proposals that show both an immediate impact on those directly served and also a future indirect impact to the greater community or region.
  • Priority will be given to organizations that have not received funding in the past.
  • Program or activity must show that it can be self-sustaining after grant period has ended, if applicable.
  • Geographic Considerations:
    • Priority will be given to state, local or regional projects that primarily benefit geographic areas in which significant numbers of AgVA members reside.
    • Priority may also be given in areas that are underserved by AgVA and where it can be demonstrated that the proposed grant activity will have a positive impact on AgVA’s future membership in the area.
    • One of AgVA’s objectives is to distribute money throughout its region and not to concentrate funds in a few communities or counties.

REQUIRED INFORMATION
The following information must be included on the application form or as an attachment in order for the application to be considered:

  • Name of Requesting Organization
  • Amount of Funds Requested
  • Overview of the requesting organization
  • Description of the specific activities for which the funds will be used. This includes a description of how these activities will meet the funding criteria guidelines, geographic priorities and other factors including target audience, estimated number of individuals reached and estimated impact of the activity, etc.
  • Budget that lists revenue and expenditures for this activity.
  • A list of the organization’s current board and officers.
  • A statement of the organization’s or project’s IRS tax status indicating it currently qualifies as a tax exempt non-profit organization.
  • Identify at least one person who can answer questions relating to the above information and provide a daytime telephone number.

PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES

  • For-profit entities
  • Political organizations and candidates
  • Sectarian or denominational religious groups
  • Purchase of tickets or items for any fund-raising event. Dues or memberships

Application Process

AGVA GRANT PROCESS
When an application is submitted to the Ag Ventures Alliance office, staff will screen the
application to assure the application is complete and that it meets the minimum requirements of the program. Applications where additional information is required will be notified what is missing and that information must be submitted in a timely manner in order to be considered in the current funding round.

When an application is considered eligible and complete it will is sent to the five member AgVA Grant Committee for its consideration. The AgVA Grant Committee consists of AgVA members that may or may not be on the AgVA Board of Directors. However, the chair of the committee must be on the AgVA Board of Directors.

In order to make the AgVA grant evaluation process more objective, the “AgVA Grant Committee” (generally five people) uses a 100 point rating system shown below, to independently evaluate each application. After each committee member scores the applications preliminarily, the committee meets as a body to discuss the merits of the proposals and provide input to one another. Using input received from other committee members, each member then re-evaluates the proposals and submits final scores to the committee chair. Those receiving the highest final scores receive funding.

SCORING SYSTEM

How the project fits with AgVA's strategic plan's mission and vision. 14
Feasibility of the proposal and the likelihood that the project can be carried out effectively, on time and within budget. 10
Provide value to AgVA members and their communities or positively impact AgVA's membership in areas with no or few AgVA members. 10
Impact per dollar of contribution. 10
Evidence that it can be self-sustaining after grant period has ended. 10
Leverage AgVA funding with public and private funds. 10
The extent that a proposal shows both an immediate impact on those directly served and a future indirect impact to the greater community or region. 10
Work with existing structure so as not to compete with existing organizations. 8
Proposal helps to distribute money throughout AgVA's region and not to concentrate funds in a few communities or counties. 6
Priority will be given to organizations that have received fewer past grants. 6
Provide exposure for Ag Ventures Alliance organization 6
Total Points 100

FUNDING CYCLES AND APPLICATION DEADLINES

• Requests must be submitted on the AgVA Grant Application Form. This form is available in hard copy format or electronically on the Ag Ventures Alliance Web site at AgVenturesAlliance.com.

• Completed and signed request forms are to be sent to the Ag Ventures Alliances office at 2009 4th St SW, Suite 1, Mason City, Iowa 50401 or scanned and sent electronically to AgVA@AgVenturesAlliance.com.

• Committee will meet quarterly to assess and decide on contribution requests

• These meetings will be held during the first week of January, April, July and October.

• Requests must be received by the 15th of December, March, June or September in order to be considered the following month.

Supplemental Information

AgVA STRATEGIC PLAN
The following items from the AgVA Strategic Plan are provided for the applicant to address how the planned program/event meets meets AgVA's mission and vision.

VISION - Play a vital role in creating a vibrant rural economy, driven by vision, knowledge, technology and novel business opportunities in the agricultural sector.

MISSION - To be recognized as a key entry point for its own members, rural communities, strategic partners and other investors to explore new agricultural businesses and nurture them to success.

AgVA TAGLINE - “Creating wealth in rural America”

DEFINITION OF “RURAL”
AgVA’s definition of rural for purposes of the AgVA Grant Program is based on the USDA, Rural Development Agency’s definition. The definition is as follows:
Any area that is not a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants or is not part of the urbanized area of such city or town. This generally means that any city of more than 50,000 population and its suburbs are not eligible.
It should be noted that an activity, such as training could be conducted in a non- rural area if it primarily benefits farmers or rural areas.

COUNTIES WITH THE MOST AGVA MEMBERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

Bremer County, IA                    Freeborn, MN                      Palo Alto County, IA
Butler County, IA                      Grundy County, IA              Polk County, IA
Calhoun County, IA                  Hancock County, IA            Story County, IA
Cerro Gordo County, IA           Hardin County, IA              Winnebago County, IA
Chickasaw County, IA              Howard County, IA             Winneshiek County, IA
Floyd County, IA                       Kossuth County, IA             Worth County, IA
Franklin County, IA                  Mitchell County, IA             Wright County, IA