Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation Announces 2024 Poweshiek County Alliance Grant Awards

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Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation is pleased to announce the 2024 Poweshiek County Alliance (PCA) grant recipients. A total of $192,386 will be distributed to support 33 projects across the county benefitting residents of Brooklyn, Deep River, Grinnell, Hartwick, Malcom, Montezuma, Searsboro, and other rural areas.

PCA grants are available annually to nonprofits and public entities serving residents of Poweshiek County. This year, the PCA Grant Committee received 43 applications requesting a total of $324,000. After independently reviewing all proposals, the 12-member committee comprised of community members from across the county allocated the available funding from five granting funds administered by GPCF: Poweshiek County Alliance Fund, Community Fund for Poweshiek County, Carl and Joann Orr Fund, Brooklyn Community Fund, and Montezuma Community Fund.

The Poweshiek County Alliance Fund is an endowed fund designated by the Iowa Legislature to receive an annual portion of gambling revenues to support non-profit organizations addressing the needs of Poweshiek County. The Community Fund for Poweshiek County was created in 2009 to provide grants to nonprofits and public entities dedicated to serving the county area. The Carl and Joann Orr Fund has been empowering and aiding women, children, and other at-risk community members within the Grinnell area since 2017, immortalizing the generosity of the late Grinnell community member, Joann Orr. Lastly, Brooklyn’s and Montezuma’s Community Funds further the work of local charitable organizations in their respective communities.

“We have so many organizations providing valuable services and resources across our county.  Each of the proposals reflect an unwavering commitment to the success of Poweshiek County residents and communities,” says Amy Blanchard, program manager at Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation. “Every year is a challenge for the committee to decide how best to award the grants in a way that would maximize their impact. We are incredibly grateful for our PCA Grant Committee, their hard work, and their thoughtful deliberation. We are proud to provide support for these projects and organizations and look forward to seeing the grant funds in action.”

Of the 33 projects that were awarded funding, 19 of them will receive 100% of the amount requested, eight of which were funded at $10,000, the maximum allowable amount. Broken down by broad service type, $51,091.22 will go to First Responder/Emergency Preparedness projects, $33,705 will support Food Insecurity/Social Support projects, $17,945 will benefit Arts/Culture/Humanities Programming, and $63,740 will further improvements to Public/Community Spaces.

The greater Grinnell community will benefit through 12 projects that span across wide variety of needs. Grinnell Fire Department received $10,000 to purchase necessary items such as an IV pump, cardiac monitor, and mechanical CPR device to further outfit the new ambulance service. Grinnell United Methodist Church will receive $10,000 toward replacing a commercial oven in the church used to prepare the Grinnell Community Meal, and Local Foods Connection was awarded $5,988 to update software so it can continue meeting the needs of Poweshiek County’s producers and consumers.

Grinnell Area Arts Council was granted $6,180 to install an ADA-compliant automatic door with a lock system for the Stew Makerspace, making the creative center more accessible and secure for all. The Grinnell College Museum of Art will receive $2,665 to support Storytime Art in the Park, a summer art and literacy program that includes meals, instructors, and free books. The Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce plans to utilize $4,300 to enhance its “Home for the Holidays” culture-sharing program.

Grinnell residents can also expect to see improvements in local community spaces. The Ahrens Park Foundation will soon be purchasing fencing to create a community dog park at Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park with an award of $10,000.  Nearby, the Prairie Pointe Pond Association received $2,800 to repair the sidewalk around the pond so the entire Grinnell community will be able to enjoy a safer trail while enjoying the outdoors. The UnityPoint Health Grinnell Regional Medical Center Foundation received $8,820 in support of the hospital’s plans for expanding its labor and delivery unit to benefit the increasing number of mothers to delivering in Grinnell.

The UCC Community Preschool was granted $4,000 to update its classroom with age-appropriate furniture for students. Older youth will benefit from $3,985 awarded to LINK Grinnell which will support inclusive learning tools for neurodivergent program participants. Read 2 Lead plans to use its grant of $3,600 to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library literacy program across Poweshiek County.

In Brooklyn, the community has six new and continuing projects assisted by PCA grant funding. BGM Community School District was granted $10,000 to support a playground resurfacing project which will improve the safety and accessibility of the entire playground area to promote inclusion of all students. $1,500 was awarded to the BGM Bear’s Closet so it can continue ensuring all students can receive basic care items.

Brooklyn Public Library will continue its archive digitization project with $2,500 to improve access to the library’s collection online. Brooklyn Ruritan Club’s request received $4,200 to add parking and a connecting sidewalk to its building that serves as a meeting and community event venue. Brooklyn Community Food Bank was awarded $2,717 to expand the program’s holiday meal distribution to families for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Finally, East Poweshiek County Ambulance Service was awarded $4,270.81 to equip responders with extrication coats and body armor to protect them in the variety of calls they respond to.

Montezuma will also benefit from PCA grant funding. The Blakely-Stevens Post 169 American Legion received $10,000 to support heating, air conditioning, and ventilation as the group works toward their goal of building a new facility to hold community events.  Montezuma Community Development will use $1,560 to purchase new play structures and renovations for the existing playground equipment in Montezuma’s West Park. Likewise, the Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society will continue renovating with $4,480 to replace several museum windows for a brighter look.

Expanded community programming will also be supported through two grants.  The Montezuma Public Library was awarded $4,000 to offer more engagement opportunities to families. Poweshiek County Extension received $4,000 to expand after-school programming, school enrichment programs, and other educational opportunities for youth of Poweshiek County in grades K-12. Additionally, Montezuma’s first responders will be more equipped for emergencies. Montezuma Volunteer Firefighters Fundraising Association will receive $9,876 to purchase a mobile water pump unit to extend its services and outfit new volunteer members with properly fitted gear. The City of Montezuma will use its $9,839.95 to purchase new training materials for the Montezuma Ambulance service and expand the CPR/AED/First-Aid training offerings it provides for surrounding Fire Departments.

Deep River and Searsboro were both awarded grants to support their first responders and assist in further developing their community centers. Deep River Fire Department will receive $10,000 to purchase a portable water tank and necessary equipment to equip its new brush/tanker truck, and Searsboro Community Fire/EMS Association will use s $7,104.46 to obtain properly fitted gear for the department’s new members, two medical bags, and an oxygen bag for the department’s developing EMS service. The City of Deep River received $10,000 toward construction of a picnic shelter with a cement floor. The City of Searsboro will receive a $2,000 grant to update its community center with new tables and chairs.

In Hartwick, residents and visitors will benefit from two grants. The City of Hartwick received $4,500 to repair a culvert and improve road safety for community members and farm equipment moving through town and $2,500 will beautify the city’s welcome sign by planting perennial grasses, bushes, and flowers native to the State of Iowa around it.

Finally, two projects address food insecurity for all Poweshiek County residents.  Northeast Iowa Food Bank will receive $5,000 to support programs in the county that purchase food and grocery products for food-insecure individuals and families.  Malcom United Methodist Church hosts a food bank that serves residents around the county.  A grant award of $10,000 will help purchase food and hygiene items for the Malcom Food Pantry to help meet the increased demand for food assistance.

“The collection of projects that were funded this year reflect the diverse efforts our community members dedicate themselves to addressing the needs of residents across Poweshiek County,” says Blanchard. “We are proud that our nonprofits and local leaders continue to invest in serving others and helping our communities thrive. Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation and the Poweshiek County Alliance Grant Committee are delighted to help these 33 projects and the volunteers and staff diligently working to enhance their communities.”

Organizations with the 501(c)(3) designation and/or governmental entities and public schools are eligible to seek grant assistance. The 2025 grant application period will open in December 2024. Organizations may contact GPCF at 641-236-5518 for information on how to apply. A complete list of grants awarded can be found on the GPCF website at www.greaterpcf.org.

The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that assists donors in supporting local charitable organizations to improve the lives of people in the area. Individuals who wish to support the Poweshiek County Alliance Fund, Community Fund for Poweshiek County, Carl and Joann Orr Fund, Brooklyn Community Fund, or Montezuma Community Fund may contact Blanchard or Nicole Brua-Behrens, Executive Director at GPCF, mail checks to GPCF, P.O. Box 344, Grinnell, Ia., 50112, or donate online at www.greaterpcf.org.