(DES MOINES) – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a pilot project focusing on inclusive civic engagement Friday. The state of Iowa will partner with the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity’s Grand Boule to increase participation at the state level through gubernatorial boards and commissions.

Gov. Reynolds says the pilot project offers another way to seek qualified and diverse applicants who are strong believers in becoming an active voice in state government.

“While our state law requires boards and commissions to be gender and politically balanced, we’re always exploring new ways to increase diversity and inclusion,” Gov. Reynolds said. “That’s why we’re pleased Sigma Pi Phi and Iowa are working together on this pilot project.”

“There are more than 180 boards and commissions in Iowa that advise the governor, lieutenant governor, legislature and state agencies,” Wesley A. Coleman, Grand Sire Archon of Sigma Pi Phi, said. “We are pleased to partner with the governor’s office to increase the number of qualified diverse board and commission applicants.”

Goals of the pilot project include: increasing the number of qualified diverse board and commission applicants, establishing a collaborative process between Sigma Pi Phi and the governor’s office, expanding leadership quality and professional experience of boards and commissions, encouraging next generation civic engagement statewide by developing and supporting minority civic engagement and enhancing relationships.

The Grand Boule has established standards for active members, spouses or children to participate in the pilot project. They also will ensure participants meet eligibility criteria (e.g. professional, technical, etc.) for current board or commission openings.

Iowa’s existing boards and commissions website remains easily accessible for the public to review open positions and includes a link for applicant submissions. The governor’s office staff will meet with a Sigma Pi Phi representative on a regular basis to discuss open positions, qualifications and accept completed applications.

Sigma Pi Phi is an international organization founded May 15, 1904, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest predominantly black fraternity in the world, and its membership includes professionals with records of exemplary achievement in a multitude of career endeavors.