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Iowa West Foundation Awards Nearly $8 Million in Grants & Initiatives

March 10, 2020


(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $7.9 million in grants and initiatives funding to 41 nonprofit organizations and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

A common thread among many of the grants included the benefit to rural communities throughout the region. Leading the way was Pottawattamie County, which received over half a million dollars for various projects including the CITIES program, a rural housing study, and the Arrowhead Campground in Neola. Other communities receiving funding were Carson, Glenwood, Oakland, Underwood, Walnut and Woodbine as well as Mills County.

“We know the region is stronger when our rural communities are vibrant and flourishing,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “The Iowa West Foundation’s vision of a place where families want to live and businesses want to locate includes all communities in our geographic funding area.”

Another major focus of the latest cycle of funding included the Foundation’s continued efforts on education and workforce development. The Council Bluffs Community School District received more than $500,000 for summer school programming, while Iowa Western Community College Foundation received more than $1.1 million for the Pottawattamie Promise scholarship initiative. The Council Bluffs Chamber via the Greater Omaha Chamber Foundation received $150,000 to improve the workforce ecosystem.

Lastly, for the fifth year in a row, the Iowa West Foundation granted general operating support through its multi-year funding program. Approximately $2.2 million was awarded to 17 different organizations for services in Pottawattamie County.

“Multi-year funding is a best practice in philanthropy because it allows organizations to spend more time and effort focused on their missions knowing they can count on general operating support,” said Deb Debbaut, Director of Grants Programs at IWF. “Our multi-year funding recipients include both human services organizations that serve our most vulnerable populations, education entities, and arts nonprofits that serve the greater region, all of which are cornerstone in the community.”

The Letter of Inquiry Period for the second cycle of 2020 closes on March 15. Applications are due April 15th.

 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 1 Grants and Initiatives

Carson Volunteer Fire Department
Extraction tools

Catholic Charities Diocese of Des Moines
Domestic violence and sexual assault prevention program

City of Glenwood
Vine street pickleball courts

Council Bluffs Area Pickleball Club
Start up grant   

Council Bluffs Community School District
Summer School 2020 and 2021

Greater Omaha Chamber Foundation
Council Bluffs workforce ecosystem

Greater Omaha Chamber Foundation
ConnectGO – Council Bluffs


Impact Hill
Operating funding for 2020

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Looking Up

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
IWF Sports Plex               

Iowa Western Community College Foundation        
Pottawattamie Promise 2020-2021           

Lewis Township Fire and Rescue
Purchase of wildland fire and technical rescue personal protective equipment

Mills County Public Health
Mills County Parents as Teachers

National Arbor Day Foundation
Emerald Ash Borer community tree recovery       

Omaha Bridges Out of Poverty, Inc.
Southwest Iowa poverty alleviation initiative      

Omaha Community Foundation        
Pottawattamie Gives! incentives for new donors

Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation     
Hitchcock Nature Center infrastructure improvements project     

Pottawattamie County
Arrowhead Campground bridge

Pottawattamie County              
CITIES regional housing study   

Pottawattamie County              
2020 CITIES program    

Pottawattamie County              
Conservation initiative

Pottawattamie County Development Corporation
Operating funding

Underwood Fire Department
Turnout gear

United Way of the Midlands
Community Care Fund  

Walnut Volunteer Fire Department
Turnout gear     

Woodbine Community Foundation
Woodbine Regional Wellness Center

Multi-Year Funding Recipients

Ballet Nebraska


Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands


Green Hills AEA – Preschool

Heartland Family Service

Iowa Western Community College Foundation – Performing Arts Center

Immigrant Legal Center

Joslyn Art Museum

Lauritzen Gardens

Lutheran Family Services


Omaha Children’s Museum

Omaha Symphony Association

Opera Omaha

Railroad Days

Rose Theater

The Durham Museum


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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