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Foundation Focus Areas

Traditional Grant Program and Foundation Initiatives

The Iowa West Foundation seeks to create a community where families want to live and businesses choose to locate because of its quality of life and standard of living. To accomplish this, the Foundation implements a traditional grant program that addresses key strategic priorities in place-making, economic development, education, and healthy families.

Proposals are accepted three (3) times a year for program, general operating, and capital project support. Please note that we do not fund endowments.

In addition to the grants program, the Foundation takes a proactive funding approach to community concerns through Initiatives. Specifically, Initiatives enable the Iowa West Foundation to proactively implement strategies that result in long-term, community-level outcomes and transformative impact. An Initiative has three key components: 1) it meets a critical need voiced by the community; 2) it supports a strategic focus area established by the Foundation; and, 3) community leaders work in partnership to develop a comprehensive response to the stated need. Funding proposals are not accepted for Initiatives.

Take a look at our focus areas to get an idea of the kinds of grant requests we fund. This will help you determine if your application is likely to succeed.

Funding Areas

Economic Development

A strong economy with access to good jobs is critical to the health of our community. We fund work that seeks to increase the standard of living and economic competitiveness of southwest Iowa and the Council Bluffs-Omaha metropolitan area. Work that falls under our Economic Development portfolio may include grants that:

  • Develop a world-class workforce
  • Promote job readiness and workforce training/preparedness
  • Foster strategic job creation
  • Encourage entrepreneurship
  • Support the development of new businesses in the region

We fund economic development throughout our geographic area. However, if your grant request is focused on the Omaha metro area, we only consider grants that include Council Bluffs/southwest Iowa as part of the metro area. Projects that exclusively serve Nebraska residents are not eligible.

Education

The Foundation’s overall goals in education are intended to: (1) increase kindergarten readiness and decrease educational inequity due to socioeconomic factors; (2) ensure children are reading on grade level by the third grade; (3) increase high school completion rates; and (4) increase post-secondary opportunities. To achieve these goals, the Foundation supports:

  • Preschool
  • Early childhood development
  • Children’s mental health
  • Summer school
  • Post-secondary readiness and access

Individual schools are not eligible to apply for grant support, however, we do partner with districts on transformational investments through our initiative process. We encourage superintendents to reach-out to discuss the opportunity partner with us. We fund education grants throughout our 14 Iowa counties. For our metro-Nebraskas counties, education projects that meaningfully include Iowa students may be eligible to apply. If you have any questions, we recommend you speak with the appropriate program officer.

Healthy Families

Our Healthy Families portfolio is focused in Pottawattamie County. The Foundation places a priority on programs that strengthen families, foster essential life skills and address critical human/social service needs in our community while helping individuals reach their full potential. Examples of such programs include proposals that address:

  • Family stability
  • Hunger
  • Emergency/transitional housing
  • Adolescent health projects
  • Child abuse
  • Mental health
Place-making

Iowa West Foundation invests in creating world-class places in our community and activating those spaces with excellent arts and cultural programs. Our investments in developing our community include:

  • Arts and culture programs
  • Beautification
  • Community infrastructure
  • Preserving important environmental spaces
  • Housing
  • Recreation
  • Rural development

We fund placemaking throughout our geographic area. However, if your grant request is focused on the Omaha metro area, we only consider grants that include Council Bluffs/southwest Iowa as part of the metro area. Projects that exclusively serve Nebraska residents are not eligible.

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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