Leading transformational change through vision, planning and collaboration
In the past few years, in addition to awarding grants, the Foundation began to invest in “initiatives” in the areas of education, economic development, placemaking and healthy families, essentially the building blocks of a stronger, more resilient community.
Initiatives have included Riverfront development, the Pottawattamie Promise scholarship program, children’s mental health, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment, and improvements to West Broadway.
The vision, insight, planning, and collaboration that initiatives require allows for everyone to look at the big picture with the hope of finding a longer, collaborative solution to create an agreed-upon impact. Where there aren’t existing service delivery models in place, initiatives seek to partner with key organizations to transform the delivery of services, often by creating a new model. Instead of a wait and see approach, initiatives are proactive and involve ongoing conversations with community leaders as well as data-driven research to lead change.
With initiatives we ask, what is currently available? What has worked in other similar-sized cities? Who needs to be at the table for this discussion? What is the most efficient, effective way to do this? The Foundation’s community-based 2013 strategic plan called for us to be more strategic and serve as a community convener and a leader. Initiatives allow us to fulfill that role.
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 is one of the greatest tools we have to address the root causes of poverty in our community and prepare our residents for success. 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:
- Early childhood development
- Children’s mental health
- Summer school
- Post-secondary readiness and access
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
- Emergency/transitional housing
- Adolescent health projects
- Child abuse
- Mental health
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
Preserving important environmental spaces
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.