Iowa West Foundation Awards $6.4 Million in Grant and Initiative Funding

February 10, 2016

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $6.4 million in grants and initiatives funding to 21 nonprofit organizations and government entities with projects and programs that directly impact southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. For the first time ever, the Foundation awarded multi-year funding to seven nonprofit organizations in Pottawattamie County.

The multi-year funding program is designed to provide essential general operating funds over a three-year period to organizations who fulfill the most critical roles in Pottawattamie County. The selected organizations include 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.

“Multi-year funding is a commitment to support organizations in our community that are identified as crucial to the stability of our community,” said Pete Tulipana, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “It’s also a commitment by the organizations to engage in recommended on-going capacity building to strengthen the development of their organizations.”

The level of support awarded to each organization over the three year period is based on due diligence findings, with consideration to recent funding levels. The sole restriction on the general operating funds is that it must be used to support the organization’s operations in southwest Iowa. At the conclusion of the three-year period, based-on ongoing community need and additional due diligence, organizations may be recommended for renewal of multi-year funding.

“As an organization, we have made the decision to cap funding for organizations at six years out of every eight years. While this is an effective policy for many organizations, there are nonprofits serving our community that, without our funding moving forward, would not be able to impact the families that they serve, which would create a devastating void in our community and in the Foundation’s mission,”  said Kathleen Rapp, Vice President of Grants and Initiatives for the Iowa West Foundation.

“In order to build a strong foundation and healthy future for children in Pottawattamie County, families must have access to resources and support. With multi-year funding from the Iowa West Foundation, organizations such as FAMILY, Inc. have the opportunity to maintain a continuity of service and focus on the critical needs of children and families,” said Sarena Dacus, Executive Director of FAMILY, Inc.

The Foundation also announced $500,000 in funding for its most recent initiative,which brings together five local community development organizations in Council Bluffs to focus on proactive “placemaking.” Placemaking includes real estate development, neighborhood engagement, design and activation of public spaces. The organizations merging to form the coalition include Bluffs Downtown, Live Well Council Bluffs, and Pottawattamie County Development Corporation, which will work in alignment with the Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund and Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs. The yet-to-be-named nonprofit is currently in the process of hiring a CEO.

“The leadership in our community development organizations determined that they needed to go beyond just aligning activities and really find ways to integrate their work and their organizations,” said Matthew Henkes, Director of Grants Programs at the Iowa West Foundation. “The partners are embracing a place-based approach designed to build on the existing strengths in Council Bluffs in order to promote community, activities and wellness.”

The City of Council Bluffs was another major recipient of funding. The City received $175,000 for the fourth annual Loessfest to be held over the Memorial Day weekend as well as an additional $1,515,000 for a landing park at the Riverfront, bringing the total IWF funding amount for Phase II of the park to $3.5 million.  Located off the foot of the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge on the dry side of the levy and just east of Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park’s Great Lawn, the landing park will be a crowned jewel for Council Bluffs.

“The Iowa West Foundation sees the Riverfront as one of the region’s biggest undeveloped assets,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “Phase I of Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park has been a wonderful start to developing our Riverfront, with the Great Lawn being a tremendous place for the region to gather for concerts and events. The new landing park off of the pedestrian bridge will be a significant addition, creating a space for the community to gather as well as for families to come together, play and relax.”

Its features include:

  • Community Space: An indoor community room for private events and meetings
  • Rooftop deck: This public rooftop space accommodates 100+ people, with breathtaking views of Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, the Missouri River, and the Omaha skyline.
  • Tilted Lawn: An open space for public use and public events for up to 400 people
  • Water Features: Located throughout the grove next to the plaza will be an interactive 10-foot tall water wall, a flooding wading basin, water bubblers, spray jets and an illuminated fog feature – the first of its kind in the metro area.

Pending City Council approval, construction is slated to begin in early spring, with projected completion in summer of 2017.

About the Iowa West Foundation

The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the Midwest. It has distributed more than $330 million in grants to non-profits and governmental agencies through southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska since the inception of its grant program. The Foundation targets resources into programs and projects that focus on economic development, education, placemaking and healthy families. The Letter of Intent period for the latest cycle of funding opened on Feb. 1 and closes Feb. 16 due to the holiday on the 15th.

Grants and Initiatives                 

African Culture Connection
After School and Summer Camp Program

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands
Community-Based Mentoring for Children Facing Adversity

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

City of Council Bluffs
Loessfest 2016
River’s Edge Park Phase II – Landing Park

Community Development Consortium
IWF Placemaking Initiative

Birth-Three Parent Education Programming in Pottawattamie County

*Green Hills AEA
Pottawattamie County Preschool

Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development
Southwest Iowa Rural Art and Culture Development

*Heartland Family Service
Iowa Family Works
Homeless LINK
Substance Abuse Prevention

Iowa JAG, Inc.
Middle/High School Dropout Prevention Program

Iowa Literacy Center
State-wide Summer School Evaluation Project

*Justice For Our Neighbors
Legal Assistance for low-income Immigrants in southwest Iowa

*Lutheran Family Services
Pottawattamie County Center for Healthy Families
RSafe Program

Metro Area Planning Agency (MAPA)
Heartland 2050 Implementation

*MICAH House
General Operation Funding

Omaha Children’s Museum
Field Trips and Memberships for Pottawattamie County Students and Families

Omaha Community Foundation
Pottawattamie Gives!

Omaha Symphony Association
2015/2016 Adventures in Music Program for southwest Iowa

Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors
CITIES Program

Pottawattamie County Development Corporation
100 Block Redevelopment Project

United Way of the Midlands
Programs in Pottawattamie County

*Denotes Multi-Year Funding Grantee

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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