History of Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiatives

In June 2012, the Iowa City City Council established the Diversity Committee which was formulated to serve as an ad hoc council committee to review issues relating to diversity within the City organization. The committee reviewed the policies, practices and procedures within the Iowa City Police Department and the Transportation Services Department with the intent to provide a set of recommendations to the City Council on diversity-related matters. In March 2013, the Diversity Committee supplied the City Council and City staff with their recommendations. City staff developed an implementation form and reporting process designed to incorporate recommendations from both the Diversity Committee and City staff. The City Manager initiated a Diversity Task force and appointed an Equity Director to ensure the recommendations are implemented and in compliance with the goals of the City Council. The Council passed a resolution supporting various recommendations from City staff and the Diversity Committee.

Racial Equity and Social Justice Grant est. 2017

This grant opportunity is available to Iowa City-based organizations, both non and for-profit, with the purpose of encouraging, empowering, and engaging racial equity and social justice initiatives through programs, activities, or services that help eliminate inequities in the Iowa City community. Programs that address one or more of the six priority service areas will receive preference: Building Communities, Criminal Justice, Education, Employment, Health, and Housing. The Human Rights Commission reviews applications and then forwards its recommendations to the City Council for review and approval. The City Council has approved $100,000 for FY2023, which will be split among the recipients.

Grant Requirements

  • The organization must be physically located in Iowa City.
  • The proposal should seek to eliminate inequity in the community (individual, institutional, or structural).
  • The proposal must be a new project. Exception, organizations previously funded in the last grant cycle may reapply for the same project to be funded for one additional grant cycle. 
  • Governments, public schools, and colleges/universities cannot be primary applicants.
  • Applicants can request no more than $25,000.
  • There are no restrictions on whether applicants are for-profit or not for profit.

Application Process

The online application is available from Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, through Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at https://www.iowa-city.org/Forms/RESJ.

The Iowa City Human Rights Commission will review all applications and make funding recommendations to the City Council no later than March 31, 2023.  Funding will be awarded by June 1, 2023.

It is strongly advised that those who intend to submit an application for the grant to review the recording from the informational sessions. View the recording here:

Racial Equity and Social Justice Grant Informational Session PowerPoint Slides (November 16, 2022) 
Racial Equity and Social Justice Grant Submissions for 2023

Racial Equity and Social Justice Quarterly Updates from City Departments

The Racial Equity and Social Justice Quarterly Updates supplies the community with up-to-date information regarding the City staff's work on racial equity and social justice. 

Most current update: 
Racial Equity and Social Justice 1st Quarter Update 2022

Racial Equity and Social Justice Update Archives

The Lens

The Lens is a monthly newsletter that expands conversations on equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. You can subscribe to the newsletter at icgov.org/subscribe

September 2022


Other City Information Related to Racial Equity & Social Justice

Government Alliance for Race and Equity 

The City of Iowa City is a part of the Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE). The City joined in 2015, making it the second City in Iowa to become a member. GARE is a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Across the country, governmental jurisdictions are:

  • Making a commitment to achieving racial equity
  • Focusing on the power and influence of their own institutions, and
  • Working in partnership with others

When this occurs, significant leverage and expansion opportunities emerge, setting the stage for the achievement of racial equity in our communities. More information about GARE is available at this link.