Overview

Every year the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines highlights the work our members do by awarding the Strong Communities Award. The award demonstrates the value that communities throughout the FHLB Des Moines district derive from small business and economic development projects. The award recognizes the results of these projects and their impact on creating stronger communities.

Apply Today!

What does the award measure?

  1. Impact

    The project identified economic development needs of the community and provided a solution.

  2. Results

    The project demonstrated specific economic development benefits to your community.

  3. Collaboration

    The project included financial or human contributions from an FHLB Des Moines member financial institution.

Apply today for a chance to win $15,000 to promote small business growth and retention in your community!

Download Application Deadline to apply is August 10.

How to Apply

It's as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Download the Application

    Click here to download the application form.

  2. Fill out the application

    Please read the guidelines below to assist you with the application process:

    1. The Strong Communities Award is not a grant program to fund an idea or a project to launch. The award measures the impact, results and collaboration of a recently completed or existing project.
    2. Nominations are only accepted from FHLB Des Moines member institutions (click here to access the FHLB Des Moines membership directory).
    3. There is no maximum number of nominations a member may submit.
    4. The Strong Communities Award provides a $15,000 award to one rural winner and one urban winner. One runner-up in each category will receive $3,000.
    5. Rural projects must meet the following criteria:
      • The community that the project is located in must be eligible for the USDA Rural Development Business and Industry Loan program (Click here to access the USDA mapping tool - use the business program requirements as a reference)
      • The FHLB Des Moines member and community partner(s) headquarters may be based within an urban area as long as the project is located in an eligible rural area.
      • Projects that do not meet the USDA Rural Development loan criteria above must be submitted as an urban project.
    6. Nominees may be individuals, public agencies, for-profit and/or not-for-profit organizations. The award may only be payable to the project or an economic development organization.
    7. Nominations should include the application form plus appropriate supplementary documents. Photos and video are encouraged. Please limit your overall application to five pages or less.
    8. Award announcements will be made in October 2018.

    Applications are due by August 10, 2018. Applications must be received by 4:30 PM CST on August 10.

  3. Submit your application

    There are two ways to submit your application:
    Email: Mitch Fastenau, mfastenau@fhlbdm.com

    OR

    Mail: 801 Walnut Street, Suite 200
    Des Moines, IA 50309
    Attn: Mitch Fastenau

How the Process Works

The 2018 Strong Communities Award is divided into two categories, urban and rural. An FHLB Des Moines member must submit the application and designate the appropriate category. At the conclusion of the application period, a scoring committee comprised of FHLB Des Moines representatives will determine finalists for both the urban and rural categories. The finalists in both categories will enter the final selection stage, which includes a voting component that is open to the public. The selection committee will include the public vote as one of the components in the final selection of the winners for each category.

Previous Finalists

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    First National Bank Alaska, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Credit Union 1, Denali Federal Credit Union, Northrim Bank

    Anchorage, Alaska

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    FHLB Des Moines Members: First National Bank Alaska, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Credit Union 1, Denali Federal Credit Union, Northrim Bank

    Location: Anchorage, Alaska

    Population: 300,950

    The Need: Anchorage’s on-time high school graduation rate was below 60 percent in 2006, and a high school graduate will earn up to 74 percent more over a lifetime than a high school dropout.

    Key Players: The Anchorage community collaborated, bringing together over 40 nonprofits, public, private and faith sector partners. The United Way of Anchorage led the community initiative, called 90% by 2020.

    The Results: The project is nearing its goal to achieve and sustain, by year 2020, a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate in Anchorage, with 80.2 percent in 2015. United Way of Anchorage, the Anchorage School District, and many community partners including First National Bank Alaska dug into the root causes that were preventing a higher rate of success for Alaskan students. The community is finding new ways to systematically address the challenges, connecting people to resources in order to improve the general quality of life in Anchorage.

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    Finance Factors and American Savings Bank

    Oahu, Hawaii

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    FHLB Des Moines Members: Finance Factors and American Savings Bank

    Location: Oahu, Hawaii

    Population: 953,207

    The Need: Addressing youth unemployment through meaningful work experience in the “green jobs sector.”

    Key Players: Kupu, a nonprofit that engages youth in environmental service-learning and job readiness. Kupu’s program, Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC), engages youth and young adults aged 16-24 in hands-on service learning to help restore Hawaii’s natural resources & cultural assets. Finance Factors and American Savings Bank provided financial and in-kind support for the project.

    The Results: In 2015, Kupu's Hawai'i Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) team-based programs engaged 145 youth and young adults, in partnership with over 55 other community and land management organizations. These youth contributed a total of 30,740 volunteer hours to help protect and restore important natural and cultural resources. In return, Kupu distributed over $100,000 in educational awards to participating youth and enabled 13 students who had dropped out of high school to successfully earn their CBASE alternative high school degree, which qualifies them for jobs and continued education. In total, the economic benefit this program provided to the community in 2015 was over $3.5 million. Kupu's HYCC program is expected to exceed these numbers in 2016-2017 while working to change lives and empower future generations through hands-on professional development programs.

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    Pacific Continental Bank

    Clark County, Washington

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: Pacific Continental Bank

    Location: Clark County, Washington

    Population: 443,817

    The Need: The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) advocates for business-friendly issues at the state level. Over 95 percent of businesses in Vancouver, Washington have fewer than 50 employees — those small businesses employ more people than large businesses and fuel the local economy’s success and growth. Following the Great Recession, there was a need for recovering economic strength in the area and a need to lower unemployment.

    Key Players: The GVCC developed the Small Business Resource Center to assist in recovery efforts by local small businesses.

    The Results: Clark County’s unemployment rate sank from its peak of 13 percent to just six percent. Its job growth rate was also two percent higher than the national rate in February.

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    Community Bank and Trust, CBI Bank & Trust and First National Bank of Muscatine

    Muscatine, Iowa

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    FHLB Des Moines Members: Community Bank and Trust, CBI Bank & Trust and First National Bank of Muscatine.

    Location: Muscatine, Iowa

    Population: 23,880

    The Need: The City of Muscatine was in need of a proactive approach to support and grow the foundation of a thriving community.

    Key Players: Three FHLB Des Moines member financial institutions, Community Bank and Trust, CBI Bank & Trust and First National Bank of Muscatine partnered with the City of Muscatine to revitalize the downtown business district through the Small Business Creation Project.

    The Results: Since the Muscatine Small Business Creation Project began in January 2015, 21 small businesses have received support, as well as the project directly assisting in the creation of 14 new businesses.

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    ProGrowth Bank, Cornerstone State Bank and The First National Bank of Fairfax

    10 rural cities and 17 townships across two counties in South Central Minnesota

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: ProGrowth Bank, Cornerstone State Bank and The First National Bank of Fairfax

    Location: 10 rural cities and 17 townships across two counties in South Central Minnesota

    Population: ~15,000

    The Need: Communities were unable to have telecommunications providers invest in adequate internet service. 21st Century internet speed is something necessary for residents, businesses, schools, health care providers and agricultural providers.

    Key Players: RS Fiber Cooperative and three FHLB Des Moines members: ProGrowth Bank, Cornerstone State Bank and The First National Bank of Fairfax.

    The Results: The RS Fiber Cooperative is improving telecommunications for every household, business or agricultural provider in the area. The local cities’ fire departments, libraries and emergency services will also receive access to gigabit internet. The project will create 75 construction jobs and 11 full-time permanent jobs, with the potential for more jobs to be created due to access to high-speed internet infrastructure.

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    First Security Bank

    Bonner, Montana

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: First Security Bank

    Location: Bonner, Montana

    The Need: A once thriving plywood plant, in business from 1886 through 2008, needed to transition their community from abandoned mill-owned homes to a renewed, job-creating economic showcase in Western Montana.

    Key Players: Bonner Property Development, LLC, County of Missoula, First Security Bank

    The Results: While this project is in early stages, with many more opportunities for potential development, some businesses have had success in Bonner, Montana. Now, tenants that occupy the developed space provide over 200 jobs, as well as an additional 50 at the former mill site.

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    Bankers Trust, Bank of the West, Vision Bank and Wells Fargo Bank

    Des Moines, Iowa

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: Bankers Trust, Bank of the West, Vision Bank and Wells Fargo Bank

    Organization: Iowa Community Capital

    Location: Des Moines, Iowa

    Population: 569,633

    The Need: According to a study from American Express, Iowa has continually ranked 50th in the nation with respect to the growth in number and economic clout of women-owned firms.

    Key Players: Iowa Community Capital established the microfinance program Solidarity in 2014. The program makes capital available to low-income women entrepreneurs in the area and requires no collateral, business experience, credit history or written business plans to qualify. The program has a revolving loan pool of approximately $350,000. Bankers Trust took the lead in coordinating the project, has made $180,000 in payments and pledges and has teamed up with Bank of the West, Vision Bank and Wells Fargo to provide additional financial and technical support.

    The Results: In less than one year of operation, 55 low-income women have taken loans from Solidarity. Borrows have earned an average $200 per month on personal income and have created 1.5 new jobs as a result of their business activity.

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    Harborstone Credit Union, BECU, Verity Credit Union and On Point Credit Union

    Washington and Oregon

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    FHLB Des Moines Members: Harborstone Credit Union, BECU, Verity Credit Union and On Point Credit Union

    Organization: Business Impact NW

    Location: Washington and Oregon

    Population: N/A

    The Need: More than half of small business owners surveyed reported tightening lines of credit, discouraging many from seeking investment loans.

    Key Players: Harborstone Credit Union founded the nonprofit Business Impact NW to empower local economic growth through small and micro business lending. Business Impact NW also partners with BECU, Verity Credit Union and On Point Credit Union to provide lending capital to assist businesses in need. The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business Consulting and Business Development Center, as well as Portland State University’s Business Outreach Program offers free consulting and business education services to entrepreneurs in need.

    The Results: Business Impact NW’s current programming is a year old and has served seven businesses through $350,000 in loans. This has supported the creation of 14 jobs and has resulted in an estimated $700,000 in direct economic growth.

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    Kitsap Bank

    Western Washington

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: Kitsap Bank

    Organization: edg3 FUND

    Location: Western Washington

    Population: N/A

    The Need: Many small businesses experience a funding gap and lack of structured resources to help grow their business.

    Key Players: Kitsap Bank created a small business competition called edg3 FUND to provide funding for entrepreneurs committed to growing the community. The competition awarded one company $20,000 and semifinalists with connections to other financing and business sources.

    The Results: More than 70 businesses in Western Washington applied for the inaugural competition in 2014. The competition attracted a variety of unique businesses and the committee honored 16 semifinalists and one winner. Pawzii, Inc., an online pet-licensing product, was named the winner and is currently working to develop additional technology, as well as scaling the business to a wider audience.

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    First Southeast Bank

    Harmony, Minnesota

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    FHLB Des Moines Members: First Southeast Bank

    Organization: Community & Economic Development Associates

    Location: Harmony, Minnesota

    Population: 1,007

    The Need: The community of Harmony faced the possibility of losing one of its major employers when Harmony Enterprises approached the local Economic Development Authority in need of additional space.

    Key Players: The Harmony Economic Development Authority and Community & Economic Development Associates put together a financial package consisting of funding from the State of Minnesota, City of Harmony and other local and state sources. First Southeast Bank also contributed a $1.2 million loan to assist with the expansion.

    The Results: Harmony Enterprises expanded its business operations in Harmony, retaining 59 full-time jobs and adding 14 full-time positions. The expansion also grew the City tax base by a projected $360,000 and led to improved public infrastructure.

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    Hawthorn Bank

    Jefferson City, Missouri

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: Hawthorn Bank

    Organization: Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce

    Location: Jefferson City, Missouri

    Population: 43,330

    The Need: In July 2013, R.R. Donnelly announced they would be closing their Jefferson City facility, laying off 475 employees and vacating a 650,000 square-foot building.

    Key Players: Community leaders came together to purchase the vacant facility and worked with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce to create an economic development team consisting of local city, county, public schools, college and state officials. The community offered a ten-year tax abatement on personal property and the building, a $500,000 infrastructure grant and a $1.7 million up-front contribution to attract Continental Commercial Products to Jefferson City. Hawthorn Bank financed the initial purchase of the building by local leaders.

    The Results: Continental Commercial Products announced in April 2015 that it would it bring its operations to Jefferson City. The company has filled 50 positions and is expected to create another 150 jobs by the end of 2016.

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    First State Bank of Claremont

    Langford, South Dakota

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    FHLB Des Moines Member: First State Bank of Claremont

    Organization: Langford community leaders

    Location: Langford, South Dakota

    Population: 316

    The Need: The rural community of 316 residents had witnessed the loss and demolition of several Main Street businesses and needed a local gathering space to fill the void and provide a restaurant, retail opportunities, and community meeting area.

    Key Players: Eight community residents acting as local incorporators under the South Dakota Business Corporation Act, SDCL 47-1A developed the Langford Main Street Center, Inc. project for the creation of new business, job creation and gathering space. A local leadership team developed an extensive financial package that also included $250,000 construction financing and a $50,000 working capital line of credit from First State Bank of Claremont.

    The Results: After four years of planning, the community launched its Main Street Center in July 2015, which houses four new businesses, including a local restaurant and gathering space. The project has created and retained more than 40 jobs and has increased the city’s tax revenue.

FAQs

Is the award part of the FHLB Des Moines Affordable Housing Products?

The Strong Communities Award is not part of the Banks Affordable Housing Products (i.e. Competitive Affordable Housing Program, Home$tart, Home$tart Plus, Native American Homeownership Initiative). For more information on these programs, please visit www.fhlbdm.com.

How does the award process work?

The 2018 Strong Communities Award is divided into two categories, urban and rural. Please see below for further clarification and definitions for both categories. An FHLB Des Moines member must submit the application and designate the appropriate category (click here to access the FHLB Des Moines membership directory). At the conclusion of the application period, a scoring committee comprised of FHLB Des Moines representatives will determine finalists for both the urban and rural categories. The finalists in both categories will enter the final selection stage, which includes a voting component that is open to the public. The selection committee will include the public vote as one of the components in the final selection of the winners for each category.

What criteria is used to determine if a project is urban or rural?

Rural projects must meet the following criteria:

  • The community that the project is located in must be eligible for the USDA Rural Development Business and Industry Loan program (Click here to access the USDA mapping tool - use the business program requirements as a reference)
  • The FHLB Des Moines member and community partner(s) headquarters may be based within an urban area as long as the project is located in an eligible rural area.
  • Projects that do not meet the USDA Rural Development loan criteria above must be submitted as an urban project.
What do the winning projects and finalists receive?

Two winners, one urban and one rural, will each receive a $15,000 stipend to be used for the project or other community economic development needs. One runner-up finalist in each category will be awarded $3,000.

Can the project be located out-of-district?

The award must be located within the FHLB Des Moines district. Projects in Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming as well as the US territories of American Samoa and Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible for consideration.

What is the award timeline?

tentative timeline can be found below:

  • Applications are due on August 10, 2018 by 4:30 PM CST
  • Public voting period begins in mid-September, 2018
  • Public voting period closes at the end of September, 2018
  • Winners announced by early October, 2018
  • Recognition of winners in early October 2018
Will finalists receive promotional assistance?

All finalists are eligible for a $200 cooperative advertising reimbursement. FHLB Des Moines will also assist in the creation of press releases and other promotional materials as needed. For further information, please contact Mitch Fastenau, Marketing Communications Strategist, FHLB Des Moines, at mfastenau@fhlbdm.com or 515.281.1069.