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Local Foundations Join Forces in Response to COVID-19 Needs

March 21, 2020

Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund graphic

Iowa West Foundation, Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, and Council Bluffs Schools Foundation Coalesce to Raise Funds and Provide Relief 

(Council Bluffs, IA) – Three southwest foundations are coming together to lead the philanthropic response to the increasing needs in the region due to COVID-19. The Iowa West Foundation, Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, and Council Bluffs Schools Foundation have created a fund that both members of the public can contribute to and nonprofits as well as public health organizations can access as needs mount in southwest Iowa communities. The Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund will support everything from public health resources to emergency childcare for those on the front lines of the pandemic. 

“It’s essential that we coordinate and work together during this time of crisis to address the urgent needs of southwest Iowans,”  said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation, which has committed up to $500,000 to nonprofits and public health organizations facing hardship because of COVID-19. “The Iowa West Foundation is committed to working with community agencies to address the most current and pressing needs as well as partnering to create ways for individuals and corporations to have a way to help.”

Individuals, corporations, as well as private foundations who would like to aid in the COVID-19 relief efforts are encouraged to visit the PCCF to donate. CEO of PCCF Donna Dostal emphasized that all donations from individuals will receive a 10 percent match through PCCF. 

“Our community is poised and ready to help in this time of uncertainly,” Dostal said.  “At PCCF, we know that through collaborative problem solving, transparency, and innovative thinking we can help convene solutions and connect philanthropy to the needs. In our partnership with the Iowa West Foundation, we look forward to maximizing insights, expertise, and resource support to best serve our southwest Iowa communities.”

The Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response includes resources for the Emergency Childcare Collaborative in Pottawattamie County, spearheaded by Council Bluffs Schools Foundation. The Collaborative will make free, daytime childcare available to those who do not currently have it during the school closures related to the COVID-19, said Executive Director of the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation, Chris Laferla. 

“The precautionary measure to close schools during this pandemic is necessary to prevent spread, but we risk losing the life-saving benefit of closing schools if healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical employees are not able to work because they don’t have childcare,” LaFerla said.  “As a community we are happy to step in to provide childcare.”

In addition, the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fundnwill continue to support the evolving needs with respect to the following areas:

  1. Emergency Assistance to Vulnerable PopulationsThis funding would support those who are food insecure, shelter insecure, or facing acute behavioral health needs. Basic needs would be prioritized and applicants would be asked to identify their strategies for establishing ways to meet new needs or scale existing programs. Examples would include mobile pantries, expanded rental and utility assistance, meals on wheels, rural food deliveries, and support to homeless shelters and homeless needs.
  1. Public Health Expanded InfrastructureRecognizing that the existing infrastructure for public health was not designed for the current circumstances, this funding would support innovative approaches to responding to COVID-19, such as public information, drive-through testing, or other novel infrastructure. While hospitals are usually ineligible for Iowa West Foundation support, for the purposes of this fund alone, they would have the opportunity to apply given the above restrictions.
  2. Continuity of Nonprofit OperationsThis funding would support nonprofit partners who are unable to meet payroll as a result of fundraising loss, event cancellation, or other COVID-19 related impacts. Applicants would be asked to show an expected gap in their ability to support their staff during the near-term of 3-6 months. This would only be available to organizations that have offices in southwest Iowa. Specific priority should be given to existing multi-year funding recipients in this category.
  3. Funding to Support Long Term Recovery ReliefLong term relief for needs that are not addressed by federal, state, and local relief programs.

The universal application for relief funding can be found at both and 

Donors can visit to give directly to the response fund and Childcare Collaborative. 

More information about CBSF’s Childcare Collaborative 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 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.

About Pottawattamie County Community Foundation

The Pottawattamie County Community Foundation (PCCF) is a tax-exempt public charity, 501(c)(3), that serves thousands of people who share a common interest in improving the quality of life in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Through PCCF, individuals, families, businesses and organizations can create permanent charitable funds that help their communities meet the challenges of changing times. The foundation invests and administers these charitable funds.

About Council Bluffs Schools Foundation

The Council Bluffs Schools Foundation mission is to provide financial resources and support to benefit the children, families, and staff of the Council Bluffs Community School District.

Nicole Lindquist

Written by Nicole Lindquist, Director of Communications

Media Inquiries:

Nicole Lindquist
Director of Communications
w: 712-309-3004
c: 402-981-2289

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