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Iowa West Foundation awards more than $2 Million in final cycle of 2020

November 16, 2020

Grants primarily focused on healthy families

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved nearly $2.3 million in grants and initiatives funding, with a focus on programs and projects that seek to strengthen families in Pottawattamie County. The healthy families portfolio includes critical community needs such as mental health, housing/homelessness, and diversity.

“The Iowa West Foundation is dedicated to helping communities by assisting nonprofits that serve those who may not have the means or support to get the help they need,” said Jenny Barnett, Chair of the Healthy Families Advisory Committee at the Iowa West Foundation. “Agencies on the receiving end use these grant awards to create dividends and to help our communities thrive.”

Beneficiaries of the third and final grants cycle for 2020 included the homeless community, rural firefighters, children with mental and behavioral health needs, women of southwest Iowa, and the Latino community through the Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation (MLCDC).

“Our grant funding from the Iowa West Foundation will allow us to increase the number of Latino-owned childcare businesses and improve the access to high quality childcare services in Council Bluffs,” said Juan Montoya, Executive Director for the MLCDC. “Currently, there is a need for culturally and linguistically appropriate in-home daycares in the area, and this grant will provide the tools and training to individuals wanting to start an in-home daycare.”

Montoya said recruitment for the training program will begin later this year, with the goal to graduate the first cohort of participants in the spring and open a daycare in the summer of 2021.

On the initiative side, IWF funding included $1.2 million for Riverfront Revitalization, an installment of the Foundation’s $15 million overall commitment to bringing new life to the Council Bluffs Riverfront.

“This initiative funding supports the continued work to develop more recreational amenities along the Council Bluffs Riverfront, similar to Belle’s Playground,” said Brenda Mainwaring, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “While we are committed to supporting our partners through the pandemic, at the same time we are still investing in a future where we can enjoy the unique assets that make southwest Iowa a great place to live.”

The Iowa West Foundation has contributed $1 million to the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund since March. In partnership with the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, the fund provides relief for local nonprofits and organizations impacted by the pandemic. Applications are currently being accepted. More information can be found at:

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 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.

2020 Cycle 3 Grants and Initiatives

Christian Home Association, Children’s Square
Capacity Building

Council Bluffs Community School District
BLink (Carter Lake)

Golden Hills RC&D
Planning for Rural Leadership Program

Heartland Family Service
Children’s Mental Health Program

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
LUCAS Devices for Rural Fire Departments

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Riverfront Revitalization

Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation
Business Development Program for Latinos in Council Bluffs

Minden Volunteer Fire Department
Safety Gear and Equipment

New Visions Homeless Services
Homeless Services

Pottawattamie County Community Foundation
Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa & Matching Funds

Red Oak School District
Security System for Childcare Facility

The 712 Initiative
General Operating Support

COVID-19 Response Fund Grants

Council Bluffs Community School District
BLink Phase VII

Heartland Child Development
Childcare Operations

Heartland Family Service
HEAT Program (Housing Emergency Assistance)

Jennie Edmundson Hospital
COVID-19 Testing Equipment

Charles E Lakin Human Services Campus Foundation
Back-to-School support


Equipment to adapt operations to COVID-19 environment

YMCA Healthy Living Center
Enhanced services for seniors

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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