(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved nearly $6.5 million in grants and initiatives funding to 22 nonprofit organizations and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. For the second year, the Foundation awarded $1.8 million in multi-year funding to seven nonprofit organizations in Pottawattamie County. The multi-year funding program is designed to provide essential general operating funds over a three-year period to organizations who fulfill the most critical roles in Pottawattamie County. The organizations include Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, FAMILY, Inc., Green Hills AEA, Heartland Family Service, Justice For Our Neighbors, Lutheran Family Services and the MICAH House.
Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE), a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening, developing and promoting art, cultural, and historical institutions and activities in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County, received an installment of $1.2 million in funding as part of the Foundation’s $7 million commitment to the initiative, for the proposed renovation of the historic Harvester II building in downtown Council Bluffs into an arts and culture center. PACE Executive Director Judy Davis said construction is expected to start early next year.
Also in the Foundation’s “placemaking” focus area, The Nature Conservancy received $400,000 to acquire more than 500 acres of the Loess Hills Natural Area near Council Bluffs, while the City of Council Bluffs received $175,000 for Loessfest 2017. The recently announced lineup for the Memorial Day weekend events can be found at http://loessfest.com/.
In addition to placemaking quality of life grants, the Foundation also awarded a placemaking infrastructure grant to the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors for the CITIES program. Collectively, the communities of Macedonia, Minden, Treynor and Walnut received $921,525 for projects including façade upgrades, streetscape enhancements and water main and well construction.
The Foundation also awarded nearly $30,000 to three Pottawattamie County fire departments as part of its ongoing commitment to rural southwest Iowa communities. The Lewis Township and Hancock Volunteer Fire Department received $10,000 and Carson Volunteer Fire Department received $9,852, all for equipment upgrades.
The Letter of Inquiry period for the Cycle 2 grant application process opened on March 1 and will close March 15. Applications are due April 17, due to the 15th falling on a weekend. Grant application and initiative decisions will be made in June. Please see the Grantmaking section of the Iowa West Foundation website for more information (http://www.iowawestfoundation.org/ )
The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the Midwest. It has distributed more than $400 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies through southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska since the inception of its grant program. Funding for the grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association, which receives contractual fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s.