It’s never a good idea to declare victory prematurely, but as we head into a new stage of COVID-19 – the vaccination and recovery phase – let’s take a minute to thank those who helped our community pull through the overwhelming challenges of 2020.
Last March, the Iowa West Foundation announced we would commit $1 million to the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. Since then, we have watched with respect and appreciation as so many in our community have worked tirelessly to make sure that urgent needs are addressed. In addition to emergency responders and healthcare workers who have given so much, I’d like to highlight a few others who deserve credit.
- Kudos to Director Matt Wyant and the rest of the team at the Pottawattamie County Division of Public Health as they have managed through unprecedented challenges, kept our community informed, and taken a strong stance to ensure that Pottawattamie County and Council Bluffs have testing facilities and vaccine doses that align with our needs.
- Thank you to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Council Bluffs Chamber, the City of Council Bluffs, Council Bluffs Schools, Advance Southwest Iowa, and so many other entities that developed new information campaigns, broadened their communication platforms, and found creative ways to provide all of us with important and timely information and resources.
- And special appreciation to local business owners who faced seemingly insurmountable odds in 2020 but fought hard to stay open. Their commitment and tenacity have preserved the economy that drives our community.
The Iowa West Foundation team has been working hard to support all of these efforts. Together with the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation and other donors, in 2020 we provided $1.3 million in emergency funding to help southwest Iowa nonprofits and public-health organizations manage COVID-19 challenges.
Nearly two-thirds of our support went to programs that help vulnerable populations, with the remainder supporting public health initiatives and non-profit operations in southwest Iowa. We provided rapid support to hospitals, emergency responders, food pantries, homeless shelters, schools, arts organizations and numerous not-for-profit entities that offered help to neighbors in need.
We know that the need is not over. The Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund, alongside so many other organizations in our community, will continue to provide relief and support to those who need a little help to find “normal” in 2021.