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Iowa West Foundation grants more than $5 million to local nonprofits

March 29, 2022

Multi-year funding accounts for nearly half of total dollars awarded

The Iowa West Foundation Board of Directors recently approved $5.1 million in grants and initiatives to nearly 30 nonprofits in the region. Approximately $2.4 million went to nonprofits with missions centered on healthy families, education, and arts enrichment for youth in southwest Iowa, in the form of multi-year funding for operating costs.

“The multi-year funding program has provided more than $10 million to nonprofits who serve Iowa residents,” said Brenda Mainwaring, ““It’s difficult for nonprofits to secure funds for operating expenses.  We decided to address that gap in the funding stream. Our multi-year funding program is designed for long-standing nonprofit partners and allows them to focus less on fundraising and more on their missions for the community.”

The funding is critical to organizations like Council Bluffs’ based FAMILY Inc., which received $120,000 for the sixth year in a row.

“Our partnership with Iowa West Foundation on the multi-year funding program has been transformational,” said Kimberly Kolakowski, Executive Director of FAMILY Inc. “As a result of receiving operational funds that allow the organization’s focus to remain on serving families, we have implemented new programming, expanded infrastructure within the organization and ensured employees have the tools and training they need to provide the highest quality services.”

Mainwaring credits the long-term partnership with Ameristar, Harrah’s, and Horseshoe for the Foundation’s ability to make such a meaningful, long-term impact in the community. Fees from gaming and investment income are what enables Iowa West to fund operating, capital and programmatic grants throughout 18 counties in southwest Iowa.

For this cycle, the rural communities of Audubon, Griswold, Harlan, Treynor, and Woodbine received funding for placemaking projects in their communities, including recreation amenities, infrastructure upgrades, and fire safety. Treynor resident Wendy Andersen is “extremely grateful” for the $50,000 grant for a project that will include an inclusive playground, splash pad, and memorial trailhead in her community.

“This grant solidifies and ensures that we are able to start the construction process right now,” Andersen said. “We are excited to have an inclusive gathering place in the community for all families to experience life together.”

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. For more information on recent changes to the application process, a virtual grants workshop will be held on Thursday, April 21. Details and registration can be found at:

2022 Cycle 1 Grants and Initiatives

American Midwest Ballet
Multi-year funding

Audubon Recreation Foundation
Recreation center expansion

Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands
Multi-Year funding

Bridges Out of Poverty
Southwest Iowa Poverty Alleviation Initiative

City of Griswold
Main Street revitalization

Durham Museum
Multi-year funding

Multi-year funding

Green Hills AEA
Multi-year funding – preschool

Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development
Kitchen Council

Heartland Family Service
Multi-year funding

Iowa Western Community College Foundation
Multi-year funding – Arts Center

Iowa Western Community College
Pottawattamie Promise

Immigrant Legal Services
Multi-year funding

Joslyn Art Museum
Multi-year funding

Joslyn Art Museum
Evolve Joslyn capital campaign

Lauritzen Gardens
Play and Grow

Lauritzen Garden
Multi-year funding

Lutheran Family Services
Multi-year funding

Merrymakers Association
Music, Memories and Joy to southwest Iowa senior citizens

Multi-year funding

Omaha Children’s Museum
Multi-year funding

Omaha Symphony Association
Multi-year funding

Opera Omaha
Multi-year funding

Rose Theater
Multi-year funding

Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE)
Multi-year funding

Pottawattamie County
CITIES Program – Carson

Pottawattamie County
CITIES Program – Neola

Shelby County Fair Corporation
Fairground Improvements

Southwest Iowa Housing Trust Fund
Housing repair

Southwest Iowa Leadership Academy
Summer Leadership Academy

Treynor State Bank Community Foundation
The T – recreation center

United Way of the Midlands
Community Care Fund

Woodbine Fire & Rescue
Extrication Gear for EMS

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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