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About Us

Iowa West Foundation

Our Vision

Communities where families love to live and businesses thrive

Our Mission

The mission of the Iowa West Foundation is to improve lives and strengthen communities for current and future generations. We do this by

•Catalyzing creativity and collaboration

•Empowering partners for community success

•Fostering leadership that reflects the community

•Supporting people-focused outcomes

The Iowa West Foundation is funded by investment income and through the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), which receives contracted fees paid by local casino operators — Ameristar and Harrah’s. The Foundation is an independent nonprofit recipient, as described in the 501(c)3 section of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation began its grant program in 1996, which awards funds for various community projects of governmental entities or nonprofit organizations. The Iowa West Foundation is headquartered in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Iowa West Racing Association

The Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA) was created when Iowa passed laws requiring gaming licenses to be either held or sponsored by nonprofit organizations. The Association has become an important source of funding for a variety of charitable and community projects.

The Iowa West Racing Association is the license holder for Horseshoe Casino, formerly Bluffs Run, and the license sponsor for two casino riverboats, Ameristar and Harrah’s. The two riverboat operators pay license fees to the Association, which distributes the funds to the Iowa West Foundation. In addition, two transactions in 1999 and 2004 involving Bluffs Run significantly increased the Foundation’s corpus and investment income for charitable grant making.

Our History

Despite its modest beginnings and relative youth, the Iowa West Foundation has evolved significantly to become one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the Midwest. The Iowa West Racing Association was officially formed in 1984, and the Iowa West Foundation was established in 1994 as a private charitable foundation.


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.


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