Current Program Status

All funds allocated to the Building Nonprofit Capacity Grant Program by the Board of Supervisors have been awarded and the program is now closed. For information about the program and grant recipients, please see the information below.


Nonprofits provide a host of services for their communities, including helping residents weather the multitude of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nonprofits have also faced significant challenges because of the pandemic, including increased demand for services, changing operational needs, significant job losses, and damaged financial health due to decreased revenue and donations.
Johnson County created the Building Nonprofit Capacity Grant Program in response to COVID-19's impacts on local nonprofits. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors allocated $2.1 million ($100,000 for local arts nonprofits and $2 million for social service, child care, and other non-arts nonprofits) to respond to needs identified through the Current Funding Needs Assessment. Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and grantees will be subject to federal compliance.

Funding Priorities

Johnson County's Building Nonprofit Capacity Grant Program will provide one-time awards to nonprofits to support capacity building efforts that are responsive and proportionate to an identified COVID-19 impact. Efforts that will receive priority for funding include:
  1. Increased staffing capacity and staff training
  2. Capital Improvements to improve value, sustainability, or useful life of assets such as buildings, equipment, and intellectual property
  3. Internal Infrastructure: Software and system upgrades that increase capacity


Eligible organizations must operate primarily in Johnson County and have 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) status. Organizations must demonstrate their negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awarded Organizations

The Board of Supervisors has approved grant agreements with the following organizations:

  • Better Together Community Development Corporation on behalf of Table to Table Foundation and the Family Resource Center Collaborative $900,000
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Inc. $615,000
  • Good Shepherd Center $35,000
  • Iowa City Community Theatre $43,000
  • Iowa City Free Medical Clinic $300,000
  • Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity $150,000
  • Summer of the Arts $7,000
  • The Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. $50,000

Application Process

To apply for the Building Nonprofit Capacity Grant Program, applicants will utilize Blackbaud, the County's grantmaking portal. Applicants must create an account with an email address and submit an application through the online portal. Supporting materials must be uploaded through the web portal. Paper applications are not accepted.

This application will be a two-part process:

1. Interested applicants must submit a Letter of Interest (LoI). The LoI application period is now closed. Only organizations that submitted an LoI will be invited to submit an application:

  • The LoI launched on August 14, 2023 using Johnson County's application portal. 
  • August 24 at 11 a.m. Johnson County hosted an informational webinar on Microsoft Teams.
  • LoIs were due by the end of day on September 1, 2023.
  • County staff reviewed LoIs and invited applicants with approved LoIs to submit an application on September 22, 2023.

2. Applicants will be invited to submit an application. Organizations will not be able to apply unless they have an approved LoI.

  • The application launched to applicants with approved LoIs on September 22, 2023 via Johnson County's application portal.
  • Applications were due by end of day on October 20, 2023. All applications must be submitted using the online application portal.
  • On October 10 at 2 p.m. Johnson County hosted an informational webinar on Microsoft Teams. A recording is available below.

On November 29, 2023 the Board of Supervisors discussed and made determinations of grant awards. All applicants were sent an award notice or declination on November 30. At this time, all awards have been accepted and the grant program is closed.

Application Evaluation

Applications were evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The demonstration of need
  • The responsiveness and proportionality of request
  • The organization and project's readiness to meet federal requirements
  • The financial sustainability of the project
  • The environmental sustainability of the project
Applicants were required to demonstrate the negative economic impact of COVID-19 on their organization. Common impacts included decreased revenue and/or increased costs that the organization had not already been reimbursed for.

Unique Entity ID

Your organization must register with and obtain a Unique Entity ID to apply for funds. If you do not have one, please submit your registration with as soon as possible. If you have registered but have not received your ID, please enter 0000000000 as your UEI in order to submit a Letter of Interest. You will need to submit an official UEI in order to submit the second stage application for funding. For more information about Unique Entity IDs, please see more information here.

Energy Project Guidance

Most energy-related projects will require that you own your building and are the account holder for the electric and gas bills. Installing energy-efficient lighting, using efficient heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC), and adding quality insulation are several of the important ways to reduce building energy use while increasing indoor air comfort for staff, clients and visitors. Please review the following guidance on audits, bills, rebates and more.


It is best to do an energy audit before embarking on any major energy-related changes. An audit gives you insight into which equipment, system or structural changes would provide the greatest or most needed energy and/or cost-savings. Depending on the size and location of your facility, you may be eligible for a free audit from your utility provider.

Check Your Energy Bills

A quick review of our energy bill shows your energy patterns and who provides your electricity and/or gas. It may be two different providers, in which case you may need to get in touch with both about their energy efficiency and other programs.

Rebates and Discounts (Prescriptive)

Rebates are typically “prescriptive,” meaning as long as you replace or add equipment from a pre-approved list within a certain amount of time (usually within the calendar year), you will be able to get a pre-determined amount of money back per item. However, rebates are not guaranteed. For example, the “pot” of funds for a particular kind of product may run out before the end of the calendar year. Also, some products are complex. You can always check with the provider ahead of time to ensure you meet the requirements for prescriptive rebates. The specifics on LED lighting can be a little complicated.

Some equipment may include an outright discount that the installer can provide.

Incentives (Custom Projects)

Incentives are typically based on getting preapproval for specialized or customized needs. The utility company will review your application and give you an idea of how much of a funding incentive they will provide if the project is completed satisfactorily. While there may be a deadline for when you need to complete the project, the promised funds typically are guaranteed. In addition, technical assistance may be provided.

Utility-Specific Links: MidAmerican Energy

Energy Efficiency:

Custom Equipment: If specific equipment you intend to purchase and install is not listed at the site above, it may qualify as a custom project in the Nonresidential Energy Solutions program. However, you would need preapproval for the purchase to qualify for an inventive. To discuss your needs, call MidAmerican 800-432-8583 or contact your business connections manager.

Business resources center:

In addition, MidAmerican Energy has a community-engagement program called CARES, which provides support for events and projects:


Utility-Specific Links: Alliant Energy

Energy efficiency:

Business resource center:

Community solar program:

In addition, the Alliant Foundation has a grant program:


Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act created two new credit delivery mechanisms—elective pay (otherwise known as “direct pay”) and transferability—that enable state, local, and Tribal governments; non-profit organizations, U.S. territories; and other entities to take advantage of clean energy tax credits.

The guidance is still being written temporary regulations exists for an electronic pre-filing registration requirement. The pre-filing process will help prevent improper payments.

Of greatest interest for those who have completed major energy efficiencies and have current HVAC systems may be the solar credits (30% of project cost).


It is best to consider adding solar only after you maximize energy efficiencies and conservation, and consider whether you are adding any new electrical loads.

As noted in the IRA section, solar credits are now available to non-profit organizations (30% of project cost).

The Iowa Solar Trade Association provides guidance at

ARPA Funding

This grant program is funded by Johnson County's allocation of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Awarded projects will be required to comply with regulations identified in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter II, Part 200 (2 CFR Part 200).

If your organization has already received ARPA funding from Johnson County, the City of Iowa City, or another government entity, you are still eligible for this funding opportunity. Please disclose any and all ARPA funds your organization has received and scope your proposal to avoid any duplication of benefits.


If you have questions, need assistance with the application, or need translation or interpretation services, please contact Johnson County Grants Staff at [email protected] or 319-356-6000.