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First Grants Deployed Through Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund

April 3, 2020

(Council Bluffs-IA) The first recipients of the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund will utilize the grant funding to alleviate emergency needs in the local community. New Visions Homeless Shelter, Food Bank of the Heartland, Food Bank of Iowa, Care and Share Pantry, Centro Latino and Citylight Church -all organizations that serve the vulnerable population- collectively received more than $168,000 to ensure southwest Iowans have access to food and shelter.

“These organizations are on the front lines of getting shelter and food for the individuals and families who need it most,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of Iowa West Foundation. “Right now, shoring up the food and shelter systems is our primary focus.”

New Visions, which received $55,000 will use the funds to serve the at-risk homeless population.

“We could not care for our most vulnerable men in this unpredictable time without these foundations,” said Bob Sheehan, President and CEO. “Iowa West immediately jumped into action and provided leadership on the crisis throughout our community. We are grateful for all they and the other funders have done as we now are better ready to help homeless men with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In light of the extreme needs of numerous local nonprofits due to COVID-19, the Iowa West Foundation will defer its current grant cycle, with the exception of a few, mission-critical operating grants and initiatives. Deferred applications will have the opportunity to apply at a later date.

“Early applications to the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund have made it clear that there is a significant need, both in the urban and rural areas we serve” Tulipana said.  “In order to be responsive to that need, we are channeling all our efforts toward that cause.”

Managed by the Iowa West Foundation and the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund continues to accept applications on a rolling basis as well as accept donations.

“The generosity of our community is a critical linchpin that helps make all of this support to our nonprofits come together,” said Donna Dostal, President and CEO of the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. “The COVID-19 Response Fund is the way that everyone in our Southwest Iowa community can do their part and bring forward their support to make a huge impact.”

The fund supports the following areas, with the highest priorities being emergency assistance and public health infrastructure.

  1. Emergency Assistance to Vulnerable PopulationsThis 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.
  2. Public Health Expanded InfrastructureRecognizing 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.
  3. Continuity of Nonprofit Operations
  4. Funding to Support Long Term Recovery Relief

The universal application for relief funding can be found at both and

Individuals, families, corporations, and others who would like to donate to the COVID-19 relief efforts are encouraged to visit or call 712-256-7007. Dostal emphasized that all donations from individuals will receive a 10 percent match through PCCF.

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

Nicole Lindquist

Written by Nicole Lindquist, Director of Communications

Media Inquiries:

Nicole Lindquist
Director of Communications
w: 712-309-3004
c: 402-981-2289

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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