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.

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.

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Rural Projects

  1. Newcomers Initiative

    Newcomers Initiative

    Muscatine, Iowa

    Newcomers Initiative

    Newcomers Initiative

    FHLB Des Moines Members: Ascentra Credit Union

    Location: Muscatine, Iowa

    Reach: 66 loans have been issued

    The Need: : Immigrants and refugees in our region often encounter and have trouble affording the high cost of fees associated with filing and paying for immigration services with the federal government. The fee for the Application to Register Residence or Adjust Status alone can be $1,070 per person, a hardship to the many immigrants who have just arrived and live below the poverty level.

    Key Players: Ascentra Credit Union (ACU) and the Diversity Service Center of Iowa (DSCI), Esperanza Legal Assistance Center

    The Results: What began as the New Iowans Initiative has been renamed the Newcomers Initiative as the program has spread across state lines. A total of 66 low-interest loans totalling $94,765 have been issued to immigrants and refugees in need.

    Full Story:

    Immigrants and refugees come to the United States for help—but when they get here, the fees quickly add up.

    The fee for the Application to Register Residence or Adjust Status alone can run up to $1,070 per person, which is no small sum for newly arrived immigrants who live below the poverty level. And it’s not the only fee—services and applications that cost money include citizenship, green card renewal, visas, waivers and family petitions. In many cases, immigrants and refugees have to postpone paying these costs, prolonging their cases and often preventing them from bringing their families to safety in a timely fashion.

    In response, Ascentra Credit Union developed the Newcomers Initiative, a unique and nationally recognized program that assists individuals and their families in paying for the growing cost of residency, naturalization and other immigration-related fees. The program allows individuals to finance these costs at a low interest rate while also helping them establish or improve their credit score and introduce them to mainstream financial products and services from by a trusted not-for-profit financial institution.

    To identify people in need of financing for these services and applications, Ascentra partnered with the Diversity Service Center of Iowa (DSCI). Immigrants often come to DSCI seeking to improve their immigration status in the United States, which benefits the community and the family. Legalization and citizenship furthers the community’s economic development as a whole, strengthening families, which leads to stronger communities. This program benefits immigrants by providing them a sense of security, granting the ability to vote, helping to stabilize finances and uniting separated families. Legal status helps immigrants with stability and economic well-being. Once an individual obtains an employment authorization card, they are able to find more secure and better paying jobs, use mainstream financial services, purchase a home or vehicle, and obtain health insurance for their families.

    In the first year alone, 21 loans were given to 20 clients. A total of 69 individuals lived in the homes of those who received loans, including 42 adults and 27 children. The program has since provided 66 loans totaling $94,765 and has expanded into Illinois, having an even greater impact for immigrants across the midwest—and their loved ones trying to get here.

    Vote
  2. Eagle Nest Homeownership Conversion Project

    Eagle Nest Homeownership Conversion Project

    Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

    Eagle Nest Homeownership Conversion Project

    Eagle Nest Homeownership Conversion Project

    FHLB Des Moines Members: First National Bank of Rapid City

    Location: Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

    Reach: 28,787

    The Need: Due to low income (below 50 percent of the AMI) and scarcity of housing stock, homeownership among the tribal members on the Pine Ridge Reservation is markedly below state and national averages.

    Key Players: First National Bank in Rapid City, Lakota Funds, Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, Pine Ridge Reservation

    The Results: 30 low-income housing tax credit rental units are being converted into homeownership properties for tribal members. Families also receive financial education, homeownership education, and post-purchase education.

    Full story:

    Home ownership is a dream for many, but not one that’s easily attainable for everyone. To help tribal members on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota achieve that goal, Lakota Funds has founded the Eagle Nest Homeownership Conversion Project, in which 30 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) rental units will be renovated and converted into properties for families.

    Not only do the families receive a home to call their own, they also get connected to other wealth-building opportunities, such as an Individual Development Account (IDA) program and the Lakota Federal Credit Union, where families are encouraged to open a savings account for the first time. After the home purchase, homebuyers receive educational programming such as financial education, homeownership education and post-purchase education.

    The benefits to the program, however, extend far beyond the 30 families who will live in the Eagle Nest homes. Lakota Funds is a leader of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, an advocate for Native homeownership in South Dakota. Through the Coalition, members will share successful homeownership models and learn from one another about homeownership development. When the project concludes successfully, Eagle Nest will become a model for other efforts across the state and country.

    The Eagle Nest conversion project also provides an important economic opportunity for locals, such as the contractor who is carrying out the renovations, creating steady work for his company and his employees. With this job, the contractor has been able to hire additional employees, and grow his business.

    Additionally, creating a homeownership market also increases the potential for economic development and economic activity in the area. Professionals who must currently commute from nearby towns will now have the ability to live in the community and stimulate the local economy as they pay for local goods and services.

    Even the financial education programs have a positive effect all citizens living in Eagle Nest, as families learn about money management, the benefits and responsibilities of homeownership and home maintenance.

    Vote
  3. Get REAL Financial Reality Fair

    Get REAL Financial Reality Fair

    Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska, originally, then spreading across the states of Alaska and Hawaii.

    Get REAL Financial Reality Fair

    Get REAL Financial Reality Fair

    FHLB Des Moines Member: Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union, Alaska USA FCU, Credit Union 1, Northern Skies FCU, Tongass FCU, Denali FCU, ALPS FCU, Spirit of Alaska FCU, True North FCU, Aloha Pacific FCU, HawaiiUSA, FCU, Hawaiian Tel FCU and Kauai Government Employees FCU.

    Location: Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska, originally, then spreading across the states of Alaska and Hawaii.

    Reach: The program has reached an increasing number of participants since it debuted in 2011. In 2017, it served 5,632 students across 99 events in Alaska and Hawaii.

    The Need: With no economic or personal finances standards or requirements in Alaska, high school seniors face the possibility of graduating high school with little to know knowledge of how to handle finances and a budget when they turn 18.

    Key Players: Matanuska Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD), Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union (MVFCU), the Financial Reality Foundation (FRF)

    The Results: MVFCU created the Get REAL Financial Reality Fair, a fun, hands-on way for students and young adults to learn about managing personal finances. The program launched locally in 2011 at a community auditorium and hosted nearly 70 students from the ages of 17-20. The program has grown in scope and geography every year, and by 2017, six Alaskan credit unions sponsored 71 events while six Hawaiian credit unions sponsored 28 events. By the end of the school year, 5,632 students were reached—64% of the graduating class in Alaska and 16% in Hawaii. The FRF has set a goal of reaching all high school seniors in Alaska.

    Full Story:

    All young adults are faced with the challenge of learning to budget and handle their finances on their own after graduating high school. As a leader in financial education for young adults for more than 60 years, Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union (MVFCU) designed the Get REAL Financial Reality Fair program for students to experience real life budgeting in a simulation that models what it is like in the real world.

    At a fair, students get a feel for real-life budgeting by playing a hands-on game of Life. At the start of every event, each student receives a budget worksheet that includes a fictitious future life scenario with a monthly salary, relationship status, number of dependents and obligations such as credit card and student loan debt.

    After completing the worksheet, students stop at different stations to purchase housing, a vehicle, a cell phone plan, utilities, insurance, groceries, personal needs, fitness, clothing, fun activities and incidentals. Along the way, they are tempted to spend more, so they must learn to balance wants and needs to stay within their income. Credit scores and unexpected life events also come into play. Each student’s goal at the end of the fair is to stay within budget and have money left in their pocket after paying bills and ideally saving 10 percent of their income.

    The event has been a great success, growing in scope and geography every year. Other credit unions reached out to MVFCU to reach students in their regions, including students in “bush” communities that are difficult to reach, often even lacking road or ferry access. MVFCU developed a turnkey package valued at $3,500 to cooperating credit unions, extending their outreach and community networking. School administrators praise the efficiency of the Get REAL fairs, reporting that two hours of fair is the equivalent of six weeks of classroom time-—a win for students, parents, and teachers alike.

    Vote
  4. GrowMidMo

    GrowMidMo

    Moberly, Missouri

    GrowMidMo

    GrowMidMo

    FHLB Des Moines Members: Bank of Cairo & Moberly (BCM)

    Location: Moberly, Missouri

    Reach: 13,863

    The Need: Entrepreneurs in northeast Missouri have business plans that will help increase economic growth in the area—but lack the connections to the right network, support and capital.

    Key Players: Bank of Cairo & Moberly (BCM), Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation (MAEDC), GrowMidMo

    The Results: $48,023,112 has been invested into local entrepreneurs since the program began, creating 127 jobs in the region and retaining 14. Three businesses successfully sold to new local ownership, and 175 entrepreneurs and small business owners have attended training events.

    Full story:

    GrowMidMo is an entrepreneurship development program that has served rural northeast Missouri since 2012. GrowMidMo has hosted a number of events and opportunities for entrepreneurs over the years, but has most recently focused efforts on a regional event called GrowFest, which serves to connect entrepreneurs to capital in a 60- to 90-minute event. In addition to helping entrepreneurs, GrowFest also promotes awareness of the region’s support of small business development and recruits entrepreneurs into the program.

    Through the program, entrepreneurs can get help at all stages of their business plans, from gathering resources to start a business and creating a business plan, to merging or acquiring businesses and deciding on exit strategies or succession plans.

    GrowMidMo coordinators have worked to put four key things in place that the Heartland Economic Development Course says entrepreneurs need: supportive culture, access to capital at all levels, networking opportunities and business and technical assistance.

    The program has been an unequivocal success, with nearly $50 million in capitalization since it started. It has created 127 jobs in the region and retained 14. Three businesses successfully sold to new local ownership, and 175 entrepreneurs and small business owners have attended training events.

    Vote

Urban Projects

  1. MICRO Program

    MICRO Program

    Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    MICRO Program

    MICRO Program

    FHLB Des Moines Member: Hills Bank and Trust Company

    Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Reach: 131,000 (population of Cedar Rapids affected by revitalization)

    The Need: After a catastrophic flood in 2008 that inundated 10 square miles of Cedar Rapids, including the downtown business district and surrounding low- to moderate-income neighborhoods, the discussion of how to revitalize core neighborhoods began. Over time, the discussion developed into an effort to engage lower income and diverse communities in entrepreneurial activities. Access to capital has been an issue, but thanks to a collaborative effort, entrepreneurs are now being connected with the capital and resources they need to get started.

    Key Players: Hills Bank and Trust Company, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, City of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Public Library, Kirkwood Small Business Development Center, local SCORE chapter, and East Central Iowa Council of Governments

    The Results: To date, 14 loans totaling $135,700 have been awarded that will save or create more than 50 jobs.

    Full Story:

    After a catastrophic flood in 2008 that inundated 10 square miles of Cedar Rapids, including the downtown business district and surrounding low- to moderate-income neighborhoods, the discussion of how to revitalize core neighborhoods began.

    Local philanthropists approached the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation with an interest in funding a microloan program to support local entrepreneurs, and in 2015, the MICRO program was established. A diverse public-private partnership, MICRO allows individuals to borrow up to $10,000 for 3 years at 4 percent interest, connecting entrepreneurs to the capital and resources they need to get started.

    MICRO has many partners. Librarians at the Cedar Rapids Public Library have been specially trained to help guide would-be entrepreneurs through the process of market research and finding expert resources, including the Kirkwood Small Business Development Center and the local SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapter. Both can provide assistance in the development of a business plan and the completion of the loan application. Once the loan is approved, the applicant is matched with a SCORE volunteer. The program is administered by the regional planning agency, the East Central Iowa Council of Governments.

    MICRO is a revolving fund that will continue to loan money from repaid loans. However, it is anticipated that the demand for microloans will grow beyond that. The first neighborhood-based business accelerator in Cedar Rapids focused on helping non-traditional entrepreneurs has been established. Participants who complete the program could become applicants to the MICRO program.

    To grow the fund, the partners launched a fundraising campaign targeting local banks and credit unions. These financial institutions recognize the value of microloans to help encourage, create, and retain jobs in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Additionally, as these entrepreneurs succeed and grow they will need traditional financing, something these local institutions can provide.

    To date, 14 loans have been awarded that will save or create over 50 jobs. Businesses ranging from restaurants to construction to a dog grooming service are surviving and even thriving, paving the way for more entrepreneurs and more neighborhood and economic revitalization.

    Vote
  2. HopeWorks

    HopeWorks

    Snohomish County, Washington

    HopeWorks

    HopeWorks

    FHLB Des Moines Members: Banner Bank

    Location: Snohomish County, Washington

    Reach: HopeWorks Station Phase II will provide housing and services for 65 low-income and homeless residents interested in improving their lives through employment and training opportunities.

    The Need: Homelessness and poverty in Snohomish County, Washington, is increasing due to skyrocketing rents and wage stagnation among low-income households. Simply being employed is no longer enough to keep households off the streets.

    Key Players: HopeWorks, Cocoon House, Everett Gospel Mission, International Living Future Institute

    The Results: Ground was broken for the facility in May 2018, so results are forthcoming—but it’s expected to change the lives of 57 homeless and eight low-income community members, in addition to providing job training and resources for hundreds of others.

    Full story:

    Snohomish County has an enormous shortage of affordable housing, forcing hundreds of households to pay over 50 percent of their monthly income for rent. HopeWorks’ mission is to help low-income residents achieve self-sufficiency through social enterprises that provide job training and career pathways toward living-wage jobs.

    With that foundation established, HopeWorks embarked on phase II development in 2018: HopeWorks Station Phase II. This property is an ambitious, multi-faceted project that will tackle the issue from many different angles.

    First, it will provide a safe, secure place that requires some of its most low-income residents to pay just 30 percent of their income toward housing, helping them afford other necessities.

    It will contribute solutions to the homelessness problem by providing individuals and families experiencing homelessness with service-enriched apartments where they can address and overcome their barriers to housing stability.

    The ground floor of the building will provide 13,000 square feet of program space, including two culinary training kitchens and a training academy facility for classes and workshops, where homeless and at-risk individuals through 13-week internships in the food service industry.

    The project has aligned with the Everett Station District Alliance to transform the neighborhood into a vibrant pedestrian and bicycle-friendly environment where new jobs are created. Additionally, HopeWorks Station is located just a few blocks from the Everett train station and a future stop of the Sound Transit light rail system, making transportation readily available for all.

    Finally, the building goal is to achieve net zero energy for the residential development and the LEED Gold standard for the commercial space. Energy efficient design, as well as experimental “energy behavior” initiative, will create a culture of sustainability.

    HopeWorks will leverage collaborative partnerships with local nonprofits to identify candidates for all levels of HopeWorks Station. The residential program will include targeted housing for four sub-populations:

    • Homeless youth, ages 18-24
    • Homeless families participating in drug treatment court
    • Homeless veterans
    • Homeless individuals with disabling substance use

    In addition to directly impacting the homeless population, HopeWorks Station will serve as a model and a catalyst for the community, while the uniqueness of this project will corroborate the potential of the area.

    Vote
  3. Kahauiki Village

    Kahauiki Village

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Kahauiki Village

    Kahauiki Village

    FHLB Des Moines Member: Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank and Finance Factors

    Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

    Reach: 600

    The Need: Hawaii faces a growing homeless crisis—one of the worst in the nation. Homelessness, including the parents’ ability to find jobs and retain steady employment, has a significant impact on the health and well-being on children.

    Key Players: Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank and Finance Factors

    The Results: A 11.3-acre housing complex in Honolulu that can house up to 600 formerly homeless adults and children in affordable one- and two-bedroom homes.

    Full Story:

    Homelessness is never easy, but when children are involved and impacted by having no permanent place to live, the stakes are even higher.

    Enter Kahauiki Village. The 11.3-acre community in Honolulu is designed to address the urgent need for long-term and permanent affordable housing for local homeless families. The village can house up to 600 adults and children, providing not only a home, but also access to a community of support.

    Families must first go through transition facilities at social service agencies like The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and the Institute of Human Services before being eligible to apply as a tenant at Kahauiki Village. Rents are $900 per month for two-bedroom units, including electricity, gas, water, internet and cable TV, and $725 per month for one-bedroom units with the same utilities included.

    Parents who don’t have other means of employment are provided jobs at United Laundry, while Hata & Co. provides job training in the food and beverage industry for unemployed or underemployed people.

    Built from prefabricated emergency homes, the houses were redesigned to provide a homey feel appropriate for housing families with children of all ages. The exterior embellishments, such as new wood trusses and corrugated roofs, provide an aesthetic reminiscent of old plantation homes. Each home has access to common garden areas to cultivate vegetables, as well as landscaping that includes fruit trees.

    The village also provides assistance when it comes to childcare with a preschool and daycare center for non-school-age children, which enables parents to work. The buildings that house the childcare center are dual-purpose, also serving as a central recreational center for all when the center is not being used for childcare.

    Sustainability is key to this project with a system in the works, using a combination of solar energy, gas and a battery energy storage system to produce its own power grid. The possibilities are endless for this project, especially with so much support and enthusiasm from the community.

    Vote

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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

  1. alaska-2016.jpg

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

    Anchorage, Alaska

    alaska-2016-lg.jpg

    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

    muscatine-2015-lg.jpg

    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

    minnesota-2016-lg.jpg

    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.