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Iowa West Foundation funds $3.9 million to improve lives for southwest Iowans

November 22, 2022

Grants & initiatives will support nonprofit partners addressing financial stability, housing, and services for vulnerable populations

(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $3.9 million in grant and initiative funding for more than 20 nonprofits in the southwest Iowa region. The funding will address several of the needs voiced by local citizens at the Foundation’s series of “Imagine Hour” listening sessions held earlier in 2022.

“We heard from so many people in Council Bluffs and surrounding communities who said housing is an issue,” said Brenda Mainwaring, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “For some of our residents that means being able to afford a down payment on a home while for others it is a lack of housing stock. We want to assist individuals across that spectrum by collaborating with our nonprofit partners so more people can call our region home and love where they live.”

Several of the grants awarded in the final cycle of 2022 were concentrated on helping area residents increase financial stability. While the Foundation does not grant to individuals, a $25,000 grant awarded to the nonprofit Lending Link will provide opportunities for Council Bluffs residents to increase their financial security. The organization offers access to low-cost capital with the goal to divert the need for payday loans.

“The grant from the Iowa West Foundation will assist us in expanding our low-cost lending operation in Council Bluffs,” said Executive Director Daniel Padilla. “With matching funds, we can provide 20 – 30 low-cost loans to individuals and families and the repayments from those loans will be recycled into new loans in the community. We are excited to create more low-cost loan opportunities in the Council Bluffs area as we continue to combat predatory lenders.”

Both Habitat for Humanity of Omaha as well as Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs also received funds to address down payments on housing in Iowa and owner-occupied home repair, respectively. Studies show home ownership increases financial stability as well as a sense of belonging in communities.

With food insecurity having grown significantly during the pandemic and remaining at staggering levels, Together Inc. received $200,000 for the current operations of the choice food pantry located on West Broadway, which has distributed more than 1.5 million pounds of food since it opened in Sept. of 2021.

 “The support from the Iowa West Foundation allows us to continue to serve the community with hope, dignity, and compassion and to meet the unprecedented need we continue to see,” said Mike Hornacek, President, and CEO of Together, Inc. “The partnership allows us to significantly impact the lives of thousands of Council Bluffs and Southwest Iowa residents experiencing food insecurity.

For this cycle, the rural communities of Elk Horn, Glenwood, Harlan, Macedonia, Minden, and Oakland also received funding for programs and projects.

It is through partnerships with local casinos Ameristar, Harrah’s, and Horseshoe that make it possible for the Foundation to continuously award impactful grants in the community. Fees from gaming in addition to the Foundation’s investments contribute to the funding for operating, capital, and programmatic grants throughout 14 counties in southwest Iowa.

The Iowa West Foundation now accepts Letters of Inquiry (the first step in the grant application process) year-round with deadlines of Jan. 1, May. 1 and Sept. 1 prior to each of the three grants cycles.

2022 Cycle 3 Grants and Initiatives

Advance Southwest Iowa
Entrepreneurial development

Catholic Charities Diocese of Des Moines
Prevention programming for domestic violence and sexual assault

City of Oakland
Residential land acquisition

Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Council Bluffs Workforce Development

Danish Mill Corporation (Elk Horn)
Outdoor picnic tables

Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development
ALUS U.S.A and Golden Hills Partnership Pilot Program    

Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs
Owner-Occupied repair program

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
Down payment assistance fund for future homeowners in Council Bluffs

Heartland Family Service
Operating funding
HEAT 2023

Iowa Western Community College Foundation
Mid-America Gaming Expo 2023

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Women of Color Leadership Program

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Career Preparedness Fund

Iowa West Foundation Initiative
Permanent location of Together’s Council Bluffs Food Pantry

Lending Link
Lending expansion to Council Bluffs

Loess Hills Maker Space (Glenwood)
StopSaw table saw

Macedonia Hamilton Development
Heart & Soul Coordinator position

Minden Community Club
Minden Little League field lights

Minden Volunteer Fire & Rescue
Power load system for ambulance cot

New Visions Homeless Services
Operating funding

Omaha Performing Arts Society
Southwest Iowa music & arts education programs

Omaha Zoo Foundation
Hubbard Orangutan Forest renovations

Project Harmony Child Protection Center
Trauma-Informed training in Southwest Iowa

Pottawattamie County
Adolescent sexual health treatment and prevention services

Red Oak Arts Destination (ROAD)
Mural Project

Shelby County Historical Society (Harlan)
Community outreach

The 712 Initiative
Operating funding

Together, Inc
Council Bluffs food pantry operations

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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