Skip to main content

Iowa West Foundation Awards $7 Million in Funding for Cycle 2 of 2015

October 13, 2015

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently awarded $6.6 million in grants and initiatives for the second cycle of 2015. The funding will assist 22 nonprofit organizations and governmental entities with projects and programs that directly impact southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The Foundation targets resources into grants and initiatives that focus on economic development, education, placemaking and healthy families. Highlights from this cycle include:

  • $2 million toward the development of the Council Bluffs’ Mid-America Center
  • $1 million toward the development of the Council Bluffs’ Riverfront Park

“Both of these areas have so much potential to positively impact the region, with the Mid-America Center’s prime location at the intersection of two major Interstates and the Riverfront’s proximity to downtown Omaha,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “We see these as future hubs for activity in the Council Bluffs community for years to come.”

In addition to several programs and projects within Council Bluffs, there were a number of grants awarded to rural southwest Iowa. The City of Clarinda received $55,975 for a downtown façade revitalization while the Audubon Recreation Foundation received $50,000 toward their proposed recreation center. The towns of Corning, Neola, Red Oak and Shelby also received grants toward placemaking projects.

“Historically, downtowns were the hub of the community where everyone gathered to shop and socialize, but many of our downtown areas have been neglected over the years and people have no desire to gather in an area that has become rundown,” said Gary McClarnon, Clarinda’s City Manager.

“We want to be a destination city, and in order to accomplish that goal we need to start with revitalizing our downtown.  This grant will assist in the clean-up of dilapidated buildings and improvements of existing buildings in the district with the ultimate hope to spur economic development.”

Healthy families was another recurring theme for this cycle of grant funding. Heartland Family Service received $300,000 to administer years two and three of the Children’s Mental Health Initiative in Lewis Central Community Schools — a 3-year pilot program based on the high need for school-based mental health services as identified by local superintendents. MICAH House received $45,000 for general operating funds and Council Bluffs” Vocational Development Center (VODEC) was awarded $25,000 for residential home renovation.

“We are dedicated to transforming our community by continuously improving the quality of life for everyone, including the homeless and near-homeless, individuals struggling with mental health issues and addiction and adults with disabilities,”said Deb Debbaut, Director of Grants Administration.

The second funding cycle also included initiative dollars for the construction of a new veterans building in Council Bluffs. The Iowa West Foundation and the Charles E. Lakin Foundation each awarded $275,000 to the project, which broke ground in August.

“Our board feels it’s important for veterans to be able to receive services right here at home in Pottawattamie County,” Tulipana said. “This new facility will allow for veterans to get the support they need and deserve.”

The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors also awarded $113,000 to the Fourth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services for the continuation of their successful drug court program. The Fourth Judicial District would have been forced to cancel the program on Oct. 1 due to insufficient funding had the Foundation not stepped in.

“This grant allows our district to move forward with the drug court program, which has historically had a very positive impact on its clients and the citizens of Southwest Iowa,” said Kip Shanks, District Director of the Fourth Judicial District. “Those who graduate from the program receive self-respect and dignity. They pay financial debts and gain employment to become tax-paying citizens. We also have seen many families reunite. We are grateful for the opportunity to keep progressing in the fight.”

This is the second grants and initiatives funding announcement of 2015 after the Foundation restructured its grant cycles in late 2014 to be three times per year rather than four. The Letter of Inquiry period for the third cycle opened October 1. Those grant recipients will be announced in February of 2016. Funding for the Foundation’s grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), which receives contracted license fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA distributes funds to the Iowa West Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 organization under the IRS Code. The Foundation makes grants throughout southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

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.

2015 Cycle 2 Grants and Initiatives

Angels Among Us, Inc.
Financial Aid for Families of Children with Cancer

Audubon Recreation Foundation
Recreation Center in Audubon

Blue Barn Theatre
Expanded programming for 2015-2016 season

Carstens 1880 Farmstead, Inc. – (Shelby)

City of Clarinda
Downtown Façade Revitalization

City of Council Bluffs
Communications Officer
Rental Housing Inspection

Community Education Foundation
Classroom grants for 2015-2016
STARS Scholarship Program – Initiative

Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund
Affordable Housing 2015-2016

Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation
2015 Holiday Lights Festival

Fourth Judicial District
Department of Correctional Service – drug court

Heartland Family Service
Lewis Central Children’s Mental Health Program – Initiative
Housing Emergency Assistance Task Force
Iowa Family Works
Substance Abuse Services
Support to Families Displaced due to Rental Inspection Program – Initiative

Habitat for Humanity
General Operating Funds

Hearts and Hugs Day Care, Inc. – (Corning)
Facility renovation

Heritage Services
Riverfront Study – Initiative

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Mid-America Center Revitalization

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Park Landing at River’s Edge Park

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Public Art – Interactive Children’s art for Riverfront Park

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

Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc.
RSafe program

MICAH House Corporation
General Operating Funds

Montgomery County Family YMCA – (Red Oak)
Indoor Tennis Lighting/Court Enhancement

Neola Area Community Center
Strong(er) Community

New Community Development Corporation
Mynster Townhomes Development

Omaha Theater Company
Rose Theater Field Trips for Council Bluffs students

Opera Omaha
“La Fanciulla del West” and “Semele” productions

Pottawattamie County Supervisors
Veterans Administration Building – Initiative

Vocational Development Center (VODEC)
Residential Home Renovation

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.


Enter your email address to receive updates from the Iowa West Foundation directly in your inbox.