2016 Strong Communities Award

How can your community win $15,000 to promote small business growth and retention? Check out our 2016 Strong Communities resource page below to find out. On this page, you will have access to the award application, timeline, frequently asked questions and past project examples.

For more information, contact:

Mitch Fastenau
Senior Marketing Communications Specialist, FHLB Des Moines



What is the Strong Communities Award?
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?

  • Impact - The project identified economic development needs of the community and provided a solution.
  • Results - The project demonstrated specific economic development benefits to your community.
  • Collaboration - The project included financial or human contributions from an FHLB Des Moines member financial institution.

Is the award part of the FHLB Des Moines Strong Communities Fund housing products?
The Strong Communities Award is not part of the Strong Communities Fund housing products (i.e. Competitive Affordable Housing Program, Home$tart Program and the Native American Homeownership Initiative). For more information on these programs, please visit www.fhlbdm.com/affordable-housing-products.

How does the award process work?
The 2016 Strong Communities Award is divided into two categories,  urban and rural. Please see below for further clarification and definitions for both categories. A 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:

  • Application period opens on July 1, 2016
  • Application period closes on August 12, 2016
  • Public voting period begins in mid-September, 2016
  • Public voting period closes at the end of September, 2016
  • Winners announced in early October, 2016
  • Recognition of winners in early October 2016

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, Senior Marketing Communications Specialist, FHLB Des Moines, at mfastenau@fhlbdm.com or 515.281.1069.