The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors recently approved more than $400,000 in grants to area nonprofits and organizations as members prepare to consider bigger-ticket projects seeking funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

A total of 17 organizations had their projects approved after applying for the money nearly a year before. Grants ranged from $3,000 to $80,000.

Supervisors approved $1.5 million for their annual purchase of service grant program in January. But the process was delayed after the state auditor issued guidance requiring the county to switch to a reimbursement-based process and Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which will direct $19 million to Dubuque County.

Nearly a year later, the supervisors approved the projects for the purchase of service grants. They plan to start considering applications for American Rescue Plan Act funds at their Dec. 20 meeting.

“I’d be supportive of all of those for their purchase of service requests, to clean these up, then we can get into our ARP Act funds,” Supervisor Harley Pothoff said. “Other groups asked for significantly more, so we can talk about those during ARPA.”

One of the programs approved for a purchase of service grant was Dubuque County Early Childhood’s Child Development Homes Initiative, which was awarded $80,000.

This is the second year the group has received funding from the county’s grant program. The group previously received $60,000.

Through the initiative, Dubuque County Early Childhood provides would-be in-home child care providers with the equipment necessary to be certified by the state, which can be a burden to some.

“This was initially designed to increase the number of in-home providers in the area,” Executive Director Abigail Degenhardt told supervisors. “The beautiful thing about this program is it gives them the basic startup supplies they need to get started and keep the kids safe — that can be fire extinguishers to beds for the children.”

With the county’s first grant, the group helped 10 providers become registered, which opened 68 child care spaces in the area. Given the widespread need for these spaces, nearly all were full as of last week.

With the $80,000 approved by supervisors, Degenhardt said the group should be able to help 15 more in-home providers open, creating a minimum of 90 spaces for children.

“We’ve had 20 inquiries for this program since July 1,” she said. “People have heard and very much want to be a part of it.”