LadderUp Grant

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Apply NowLaunch Date: April 26, 2021 8 a.m.
Application Deadline: May 30, 2021 11:59 p.m.
The #LadderUp Grant program seeks to support organizations or programs that are working to address disparities or filling the gap in economic achievement, primarily among non-White residents.

This program adopts the approach to bridge the gaps between community needs and opportunities in the City of Des Moines through partnerships with organizations successfully creating paths to economic opportunity and stability for all residents. 

This can include programs focused on upskilling, small business start-up support, coaching and assistance to better understand the process, and other approaches to connecting residents with economic opportunities.  It can also include outreach to specific community groups, increase language accessibility, intentional efforts to provide quality services, and any action that would contribute to creating equitable outcomes for program participants.

A total of $100,000 is dedicated to fund this grant program in its pilot phase. The intended impact of this program will increase community’s contribution to the local economy and strengthens local purchasing power. 

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The grant will award no less than $10,000 and no more than $50,000 to each organization to support specific expansion of or creation of actions and approaches to serve historically marginalized communities. This can include operational costs, including but not limited to program administration, printing and supplies, and training. Interested organizations will submit a budget that proposes specific line items that tie directly equitable outcomes.

The program is open to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or organizations with fiscal partner that is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that are based in Des Moines. Organizations must have demonstrated success in economic opportunity programming and commitment to equity and inclusion. Organizations are eligible to apply for up to two subsequent years and can re-apply (for up to two subsequent years) after one full year gap between applications. 

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Applicants will be required to complete the application, along with including a copy of financial records, 501(c)(3) certification, Form 990, and a list of existing board members.   

You can use this pdf of the form to help you as you gather the data you need to complete the online application. 

You can complete the application online HERE.  

Review and Presentation

All applications will be reviewed by the Review Committee (comprised of Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commissioners and Department staff). The Review Committee will recommend finalists to the full Commission. All finalists will be invited to present their ideas to the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, which will be open to the public. The Commission will vote on the awardees, and notify them by July 2021.


Semi-Annual Reports will be required to track spending. Report must include project activities, status update on each outcome indicator, human-interest stories or narratives, and budget utilization. This report will also be shared with the larger community.


Once awarded, participants will receive 50% at the beginning of the project.  The remaining 50% of the awarded fund will be distributed upon submission of the Semi-Annual Report.  All awardees are subject to an audit by City of Des Moines during the execution of awarded funds.  
All questions from potential applicants received by May 10, 2021 , will be responded by May 17, 2021 and make the response publicly available on this web page below. 

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