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Iowa West Foundation Awards $4 Million in Grant and Initiative Funding

March 15, 2018

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $4 million in grants and initiatives funding to 29 nonprofit organizations and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Several of the grantees were the recipients of multi-year funding.

Launched in 2016, multi-year funding is designed to provide essential general operating funds over a three-year period rather than one year, which allows organizations the capacity to focus more heavily on their missions. The first cohort included human services organizations: Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, FAMILY, Inc., Green Hills AEA, Heartland Family Service, Justice For Our Neighbors, Lutheran Family Services and the MICAH House. The same model was recently expanded to include the following arts organizations:

  • Ballet Nebraska
  • Durham Museum
  • Iowa Western Community College (Performing Arts Center)
  • Joslyn Art Museum
  • Lauritzen Gardens
  • Omaha Children’s Museum
  • Omaha Symphony Association
  • The Rose Theater
  • Opera Omaha

“The arts and culture organizations housed in Omaha are regional amenities that enhance the quality of life for all southwest Iowans,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “In addition, our funds are specifically designated to enhance outreach and programming that directly benefits Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County residents and students.”

The Rose Theater Artistic Director Matt Gutschick said the funding will allow their organization to deepen its services to the children of western Iowa.

“We provide all Council Bluffs Public Schools first graders with a field trip to the theater each year,” he said. “This often life-changing experience for young people will now be expanded to more Iowa students thanks to the Foundation’s multi-year funding. This is a truly visionary way to conduct philanthropy because it allows nonprofit organizations like us to make bolder commitments to children than ever before.”

Housing also was a significant theme for this grant cycle. The 712 Initiative received $1 million to renew the downtown revitalization fund, which has been a major driver of development in downtown Council Bluffs. The organization received an additional $500,000 to support its operations. Neighborworks Home Solutions received a combined $262,500 to support new housing and neighborhood outreach in the west end of Council Bluffs near the former Walnut Grove School. Finally, the City of Council Bluffs received $200,000 toward planning a bike trail along the First Avenue corridor. These grants respond to the recommendations of the Iowa West Foundation’s Housing Task Force. The task force was convened in 2017 to recommend funding priorities for housing in Council Bluffs.

“With these grants, our Board is not only maintaining its commitment to downtown Council Bluffs and West Broadway but also investing in a substantial project to bring new life to a section of the west end,” said Matthew Henkes, Senior Director of Grants Programs. “This will showcase the ‘block-by-block’ approach to revitalizing neighborhoods.”

Also in the placemaking category, the Friends of Lake Manawa received a $160,000 grant for the  Dream Playground Re-Imagined project. Though the project is still in the fundraising phase, plans call for a six-day community grassroots effort to construct the new playground equipment scheduled for May 22nd-27th.

Local nonprofits gearing up for the 24-hour online giving day  Pottawattamie Gives! have an extra incentive again this year. The Iowa West Foundation awarded $20,000 in bonus dollars for the event, which will take place on May 23rd. The funds are specifically set aside for nonprofits who meet the Foundation’s qualifications and are based in Pottawattamie County or provide services here full time.

As part of its ongoing commitment to rural southwest Iowa communities, the Foundation also awarded grant funds to two Pottawattamie County fire departments. The Carson and Treynor Volunteer Fire Departments each received $10,000 for EMS equipment.

About the Iowa West Foundation

The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the Midwest. It has distributed more than $400 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies through southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska 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.

2018 Cycle 1 Grants and Initiatives

(*denotes Multi-Year Funding Grantee)

*Ballet Nebraska
General Operating Funding

*Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
General Operating Funding for Council Bluffs Club

Carson Volunteer Fire Department
EMS equipment

City of Council Bluffs
Planning and construction of a trail along the First Avenue corridor in Council Bluffs

City of Council Bluffs
Loessfest 2018; River’s Edge Park events

City of Council Bluffs
All-America City signs

City of Logan
Basketball and tennis court rehab in the city park/“Kellen’s Kourts”

Credit Advisors Foundation
Outreach to southwest Iowa nonprofits

*Durham Museum
General Operating Funding

General Operating Funding supporting early childhood education and literacy

Food Bank for the Heartland
School-based mobile pantries

Friends of Lake Manawa
Dream Playground Re-Imagined

*Green Hills AEA
General Operating Funding for preschool

*Heartland Family Service
General Operating Funding supporting Iowa Family Works, substance abuse services, and homeless services

*Iowa Western Community College Foundation
General Operating Funding for the Performing Arts Center

*Joslyn Art Museum
General Operating Funding supporting Joslyn’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program

*Justice For Our Neighbors
General Operating Funding supporting immigration legal services in southwest Iowa

*Lutheran Family Services
General Operating Funding supporting child abuse prevention and sexual abuse treatment programming in Council Bluffs

*Micah House
General Operating Funding supporting homeless families

Neighborworks Home Solutions
Construction Trades Partnership to build one single-family home in conjunction with Iowa Western Community College’s Home Building Program

Neighborworks Home Solutions
Funding for a targeted, multi-phase, mixed-income revitalization of the Walnut Grove development area

New Visions Homeless Services
General Operating Funding supporting services for the homeless

*Lauritzen Gardens
General Operating Funding

*Lauritzen Gardens
Railroad Days

*Omaha Children’s Museum
General Operating Funding supporting field trips, outreach visits and low-cost memberships for families in southwest Iowa

Omaha Community Foundation
Pottawattamie Gives! Incentives

*Omaha Symphony Association
General Operating Funding supporting Adventures in Music for southwest Iowa students

*The Rose Theater
General Operating Funding for School Field Trip Program for southwest Iowa students

*Opera Omaha
General Operating Funding

Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors
CITIES: City of Carson to complete its façade improvement plan; City of Hancock to improve its municipal wastewater system

The 712 Initiative
Downtown Re-Vitalization Fund

The 712 Initiative
General Operating Funding

Treynor Volunteer Fire Department
EMS equipment

United Way of the Midlands
Annual Campaign and the regional food insecurity project

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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