(Council Bluffs, IA) – The Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund, a partnership between the Iowa West Foundation and Pottawattamie County Community Foundations, received a major boost recently as needs due to COVID-19 continue to climb. The Iowa West Foundation has committed $500,000 to the cause thus far, with a focus on helping the community’s most vulnerable.
“Ensuring southwest Iowans have access to shelter and food is our highest priority right now,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation.
Tulipana said organizations that manage the food system are currently overwhelmed so the Foundations is focused on helping them to stabilize while also supporting the more immediate distribution of meal kits through schools and other organizations.
“We are also working closely with the area’s homeless shelters to ensure they have what they need throughout the duration of this pandemic to serve the vulnerable population in our region,” he said.
As part of their COVID-19 response, Iowa West is paying special attention to rural systems by working with key lead, organizations to respond to the basic needs of the communities across their geographic funding area. In addition, local corporations are also stepping in to help during this time of crisis. Polina and Bob Schlott with Warren Distribution have pledged $250,000 to the Southwest Iowa Covid-19 Response Fund.
“Our contribution is directed to organizations who serve our most vulnerable,” Bob Schlott said. “We hope others also contribute to this Covid-19 pandemic crisis response as lives in our community will depend on it.”
The Peter Kiewit Foundation has also pledged $50,000 toward the fund.
“The generous spirit our community continues to inspire us during this difficult time,” said Donna Dostal, President and CEO of Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. “The tireless work our nonprofit partners, community government officials, and healthcare providers demonstrates how strong we all need to be in order to overcome the challenges we are all facing.”
Individuals, families, corporations, and others who would like to donate to the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 relief efforts are encouraged to visit www.ourpccf.org or call 712-256-7007. Dostal emphasized that all donations from individuals will receive a 10 percent match through PCCF.
The Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund also continues to accept applications on a rolling basis with respect to the following areas, again with the highest priority being emergency assistance for the vulnerable population and public health infrastructure.
- Emergency Assistance to Vulnerable Populations
This funding would support those who are food insecure, shelter insecure, or facing acute behavioral health needs. Basic needs would be prioritized and applicants would be asked to identify their strategies for establishing ways to meet new needs or scale existing programs. Examples would include mobile pantries, expanded rental and utility assistance, meals on wheels, rural food deliveries, and support to homeless shelters and homeless needs.
- Public Health Expanded Infrastructure
Recognizing that the existing infrastructure for public health was not designed for the current circumstances, this funding would support innovative approaches to responding to COVID-19, such as public information, drive-through testing, or other novel infrastructure. While hospitals are usually ineligible for Iowa West Foundation support, for the purposes of this fund alone, they would have the opportunity to apply given the above restrictions.
- Continuity of Nonprofit Operations
- Funding to Support Long Term Recovery Relief
About the Iowa West Foundation
The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the Midwest. It has distributed more than $500 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies through southwest Iowa 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. IWRA is the license sponsor for Ameristar and Harrah’s and the license holder for Horseshoe-Bluffs Run. The Foundation targets resources into programs and projects that focus on economic development, education, placemaking and healthy families.
About Pottawattamie County Community Foundation
The Pottawattamie County Community Foundation (PCCF) is a tax-exempt public charity, 501(c)(3), that serves thousands of people who share a common interest in improving the quality of life in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Through PCCF, individuals, families, businesses and organizations can create permanent charitable funds that help their communities meet the challenges of changing times. The foundation invests and administers these charitable funds.
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