(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $3.7 million in grant and initiative funding to 14 nonprofits and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The largest recipient was the City of Council Bluffs, which received $2,000,000 for West Broadway beatification, $500,000 for new signage at the Mid-America Center and $25,000 for holiday lights at Bayliss Park.
The $2 million for West Broadway is the second installment of a $9 million total investment for aesthetic improvements to Council Bluffs’ main thoroughfare. The holiday lights grant is also the second phase of funding to expand the annual tradition at Bayliss Park. New signage at the MAC is a next step in the Foundation’s strategy to reinvigorate the area. With the addition of The Courtyard by Marriott hotel opening soon and the continued success of the Iowa West Field House, as well as the interest of restauranteurs, the area is poised for greater growth and in need of proper signage to identifying amenities and heighten the visibility of the entertainment district.
“These grants are a part of our economic development and placemaking strategies. We believe they will make our community an attractive place to live and do business,” said Pete Tulipana, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “Whether it be through large initiatives like West Broadway or smaller grants like the holiday lights, placemaking investments are both extremely visible and impactful for both our residents and visitors.”
Healthy families also was a theme of the latest cycle of funding. Heartland Family Service received $160,000 to continue providing mental health services and teacher training at Lewis Central schools while FAMILY, Inc. received $35,000 toward the Raise Me to Read campaign designed to support literacy and early learning in Pottawattamie County. The Charles E. Lakin YMCA was awarded $100,000 to cover costs to merge with The Center in Council Bluffs.
“Our strategic alliance with The Center is going to increase our organizations’ community-wide impact,” said Chris Tointon, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha. “This grant from the Iowa West Foundation is a yet another great show of support from the community for the partnership, representing the belief that the Y and The Center will be better together.”
In the focus area of education, Iowa Western Community College Foundation received more than half a million dollars to continue implementing Iowa West Foundation’s post-secondary education initiative, Pottawattamie Promise. Now entering its fourth year, the program provides full tuition scholarships and support services in high school and college to Council Bluffs, Riverside, Lewis Central, A-H-S-T-W, and Tri-Center community schools’ students. Approximately 70 new students will begin their college careers at Iowa Western this fall.
Vice President of Student Services at Iowa Western, Tori Christie, said Pottawattamie Promise has been a “game-changer” for many student scholars by minimizing the multitude of obstacles they encounter.
“More young adults are going to college, and more of them are succeeding in that endeavor – an endeavor that many didn’t think was in their future,” she said. “It is amazing to know that we are achieving our goal of improving post-secondary attainment.”
Finally, as part of its ongoing commitment to rural southwest Iowa communities, the Foundation also awarded grants to two fire departments in Pottawattamie County. The Avoca Volunteer Fire Department received $10,000 and Walnut Fire and Rescue received $9,986, both 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 $430 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 2 Grants and Initiatives
Avoca Volunteer Fire Department
Centro Latino of Iowa
General operating funding
Executive Director search
City of Council Bluffs
Bayliss Park holiday lighting Phase 2
Signage at the Mid-America Center
West Broadway Reconstruction Phase II
Council Bluffs Goodfellows
Matching funds for emergency aid and grocery vouchers for holiday meals for needy families
Council Bluffs Housing Trust Fund
Funds for affordable housing in Council Bluffs
Raise Me to Read
Four County Fair Association
Expo Building Renovations
Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
Scholarships and activities for Pottawattamie County Girl Scouts
Greater Omaha YMCA
Charles E. Lakin YMCA/The Center merger
Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development
Loess Hills Missouri River Region Parks to People Coordination
Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs
Heartland Family Service
Lewis Central Children’s Mental Health Program
Iowa Western Community College Foundation
Omaha Zoological Society
Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors
County Economic Development
Walnut Fire and Rescue
Director of Communications