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Press Release

Date: April 10, 2014

Jerry Mathiasen, Senior Vice President

Iowa West Foundation Announces $4.2 Million in Grants for First Quarter

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation, which is headquartered in Council Bluffs (Pottawattamie County, IA), has announced $4.2 million in grants for the first quarter of 2014. The grants will be used to assist 21 non-profit organizations and governmental entities with funding for area projects.

The largest grant awarded in the quarter was to the Green Hills Area Education Agency for preschool programs in school districts located in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. The $1.1 million grant ensures that four-year-olds, with the most at-risk factors for possible school failure, will have the opportunity to participate in quality early childhood education.

“Quality preschool programming crisscrosses the Foundation’s focus areas of education, economic development, and place-making to achieve our intended outcome of strong healthy families,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “Early childhood education is an important step to help children begin a successful educational tract.”

“It’s extremely important to keep preschools in Pottawattamie County at a quality level,” stated Dr. Lane Plugge, administrator of the Green Hills Area Education Agency which coordinates the county program. “We are very grateful for Iowa West’s funding because it matches our funding thus assisting hundreds of at-risk preschoolers in the area.”

The $1.1 million grant brings the Iowa West Foundation’s total support of the Pottawattamie County Preschool Initiative to $13.8 million since its inception in the 2003-2004 school year. In 2010, the Foundation commissioned national expert Dr. Susan Hegland of Iowa State University to evaluate the program, and it showed the children as “having significant gains in academic achievements.”

Tulipana also highlighted two other major grants in the “place-making” focus area.

  • A $1 million grant was awarded to the Joslyn Art Museum located in Omaha (NE) for capital improvements in its Memorial Building and Scott Pavilion. The funding is for museum repairs designated in the Joslyn’s 21st Century Campaign.
  • The City of Council Bluffs (IA) received an $850,000 grant award for planning and improvements to the landing area of the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge near Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. Iowa West was the catalyst for the park in 2010 when it provided $5.5 million.         

Funding for the Foundation’s grants comes from its investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), which receives contracted license fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA distributes funds to the Iowa West Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS Code. The Foundation makes grants throughout southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

Requests for Iowa West grant applications for the third quarter of 2014 will begin June 1, 2014, and will be accepted through July 1, 2014. Completed applications will be due July 15, 2014. The deadline to request applications for the second quarter has passed.

For more information including deadlines, interested organizations may visit the Foundation’s website at or contact Deb Debbaut, Director of Grants Administration, at 712-309-3003. Guidelines and procedures can be viewed on the website, and applicants can apply online. (A listing of grant recipients and their projects is attached for your reference.)

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2014 First Quarter Grants:

Ballet Nebraska
Two performances at community college in Council Bluffs

Bluffs Arts Council
Music and movies in Bayliss and River's Edge parks

Children's Square U.S.A.
Furniture and audio visual equipment for visitor center on Council Bluffs campus

Start-up of new "Pediatric Integrated Health Services" in Council Bluffs

City of Council Bluffs
Planning and improvements to landing area of Missouri River pedestrian bridge

Council Bluffs Historic Preservation Alliance
Front porch restoration of Historic Bregant House

Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund, Inc.
Affordable housing and residential rehabilitation program

Crossroads of Western Iowa
Volunteer program for intellectually disabled

El Centro Latino
An Iowa West Foundation initiative for capacity building of organization

Grameen America, Inc.
Expansion of self-sufficiency and microloan program into Council Bluffs

Green Hills AEA
Preschool programs in Pottawattamie County school districts

Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs
Implementation of "Asset Based Community Development" in neighborhoods

Hospice of Southwest Iowa
Medical records documentation upgrade

Joslyn Art Museum
Capital improvements to art museum

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa
Fulfilling wishes of southwest Iowa children

Mills County Fair Association Free Fair
Community building at fairgrounds in Mills County (IA)

Mills County  (IA) Prevent Child Abuse Council, Inc.
"Circles4Support" program

Omaha Performing Arts Society
Data management and capacity building project

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc.
Prevention education in Douglas (NE), Montgomery (IA) and Pottawattamie (IA) counties on STI's and teen pregnancy

Creation of an evaluative database for Council Bluffs area schools to measure the impact of programs on student educational success

The Christian Worship Center
Strategic planning and operating support for a homeless shelter and meal site in Council Bluffs

YFC, Inc.
The Maha Music Festival in Omaha region including a Council Bluffs pre-concert

TOTAL: $4,197,898

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