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What We Fund

Eligible Organizations

Iowa West Foundation funds two types of organizations:  
-501(c)(3) Public Charities
-Government entities

We do not fund individuals, private businesses, or 501(c)(3) private foundations.

Geographic Focus

Our vision is a community where families want to live and businesses choose to locate because of its quality of life and standard of living. To accomplish this, the Foundation implements a grants program that addresses key strategic priorities in economic development, education, healthy families, and placemaking.

Iowa West Foundation serves an 18-county area including southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Our primary focus area is Pottawattamie County, Iowa. The map highlights our entire funding area. Please note that the Foundation’s geographic area does vary by program area. See each individual portfolio for additional information. If you have questions about the eligibility of your particular project, please contact the program officer responsible for that portfolio.


Funding Areas

Economic Development
Healthy Families

Search the recent grant recipients in these areas in the Grant Archive.

Types of Grants We Award

Program Grants

A majority of the Foundation’s grants support a specific program. Program grants are given to support activities aligned with the Foundation’s funding priorities and related to the mission of the organization receiving funding. Program grants are restricted grants and must be used solely for the proposed program.

General Operating Grants

General Operating Grants support the general (administrative or core) expenses of operating an organization, including staff and other expenses such as rent, utilities, etc. All general support requests should describe how the organization advances the Foundation’s strategic priorities and identify the organization’s strategic goals and plans for moving the organization forward during the course of the grant.

Applications for general operating grants may only be submitted by organizations with a physical office in Pottawattamie County, or which operate exclusively in Pottawattamie County.

Capital Grants

Capital Grants support the acquisition, enhancement, or update of equipment or facilities. Applicants for capital grants should make the case as to why this purchase will help it fulfill its mission more effectively. We also try to understand how our applicants have planned for the continued maintenance, operation, and eventual replacement for what will ultimately be purchased through the grant.

It is important to note that while we encourage the practice of establishing endowments to fund the maintenance and upkeep of a facility, the Iowa West Foundation does not contribute to endowments.


Non-Grant Programs

We have a number of non-grant programs through which we support the work of our partners in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. These are invitation-only programs that are covered in more depth in other sections of our website.

Capacity Building

Through our due diligence program, we look for applicants who are doing important work in the community, and who could benefit from additional training/coaching to support their organization’s ability to pursue its mission. When we find this, we recommend additional funding outside of the application. When approved by the Grants Review Committee, this results in funding beyond what is approved for the grant. This supplementary funding is used to work with our capacity building staff person on designing a program to help support your organization’s development.


While grants are reactive, our initiative program is proactive. With initiatives we ask, what is currently available? What has worked in other similar-sized cities? Who needs to be at the table for this discussion? What is the most efficient, effective way to do this? The Foundation’s community-based 2013 strategic plan called for us to be more strategic and serve as a community convener and a leader. Initiatives allow us to fulfill that role. For more information, please see the section of our website titled Initiatives

Multi-Year Funding

Iowa West’s Board of Directors approved a multi-year funding pilot program in 2016. We researched organizations critical to the delivery of essential human services in Pottawattamie County. Our Board had already demonstrated a commitment to funding these organizations over a number of years. These organizations were then offered a three-year commitment of general operations funding to direct toward their most important needs. This commitment included an opportunity for each organization to receive training and consultation through our capacity building program.

Other Considerations 

Leveraging funds/In-kind funds
The Foundation strongly encourages applicants to leverage its grant awards. Grant requests to the Foundation may not exceed 50% of total eligible grant costs. Grant applications to the Iowa West Foundation with higher matches are viewed more favorably by our board. In-kind support may be part of the match, but it cannot exceed 15% of the total program or project costs.

The total eligible costs in your budget may be impacted if costs we do not fund are included. For additional information, please review the section: What we do not fund.

Number of grant applications in a year
Organizations may submit applications a maximum of two grant cycles per calendar year.

Consecutive years of funding
Operating grants and program grants are limited to six years out of an eight-year period.


OUR VISION is a community where families choose to
live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its
quality of life and standard of living.

Iowa West Foundation    |    25 Main Place, Suite 550    |    Council Bluffs, Iowa    |    712-309-3000