Poweshiek County Alliance Grants Announcement

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April 21, 2023:  Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) is pleased to announce the 2023 Poweshiek County Alliance grant recipients.  $161,109 will be distributed to support 37 community projects across Poweshiek County, reaching residents and organizations in nine communities.

A total of 46 complete applications were reviewed and evaluated by 11 committee members representing different perspectives and communities throughout the county.  The total amount requested among the applications exceeded $318,000.

“We commend the committee members for their efforts this year.  They had great discussion about each application and were very prepared for the challenge to stretch the funding as best they could according to the proposals submitted,” said Amy Blanchard, program manager of GPCF.  “We saw proposals from six organizations that have never applied before, five of which received funding.  We are happy the grant program is getting known by more organizations, and we’re also excited to see how these projects will impact our community.”

PCA seeks to fund new initiatives as well as support continuation or expansion of existing programs in Poweshiek County, helping to fill critical funding gaps of many local organizations. Among the 37 projects, 16 projects were funded at 100% of the requested amount, 11 were funded over 50% of the requested amount, and the remaining 10 projects received less than 50% of the amount requested.  Two projects were funded at $10,000, the maximum amount allowed from the PCA grant program.

This year, PCA grants were supported by four funds administered by GPCF.  The Poweshiek County Alliance Fund is an endowed fund designated by the Iowa Legislature to receive an annual portion of gambling revenues.  The endowment distribution paired with the disbursement from the State of Iowa totaled $133,648.  The Carl and Joann Orr Fund, established in 2017, immortalizes the generosity of the late Grinnell community member, Joann Orr.  With the intent of empowering and aiding women, children, and other at-risk community members within the Grinnell area, the Orr Fund awarded $23,703.49 across five projects.  Montezuma and Brooklyn each have a designated community fund which yielded $1,147 and $2,610 respectively.

The Orr Fund supported $10,000 for new pediatric care equipment for UnityPoint-Grinnell Regional Medical Center Foundation, requested in response to recent RSV outbreaks.  The Grinnell Community Early Learning Center received $5,130 for replacing old strollers to ensure safe toddler transportation. The Grinnell College Museum of Art received $2,000 for a summer art and literacy program targeted at children in Grinnell, while Ahrens Park Foundation received a total of $1,570 for outdoor musical instruments in a new natural learning environment. Lastly, $5,003.49 of the $5,280 request from Local Foods Connection was granted to support administrative costs for the expansion of the organization. The request was fully funded with additional support from the PCA fund.

Three other Grinnell-focused projects received funding this year.  The Grinnell Historical Museum Society received $5,000 to support a security system for their new museum site at the former Uhlmann’s Furniture location.  LINK Grinnell was granted $2,250 for a pilot music program and the Rotary Club of Grinnell was awarded $2,000 for insulated holding cabinets for use during their annual chicken barbecue fundraiser.

The Brooklyn Community Fund and Montezuma Community Fund are endowed, donor-supported funds. This year, the Brooklyn Community Fund supported the entirety of the $1,500 request for Bear’s Closet and $1,110 of the $3,000 grant award for BGM Bear Bags.  The BGM Bear Bags provides students in Brooklyn who are in need with food bags, which includes milk, eggs, cheese, bread, and meat.  The Bear’s Closet program supports students in need with items such as sporting apparel, seasonal clothing, and personal hygiene items. On the other hand, the Montezuma Community Fund supported $1146 of the $2,300 grant award to the Montezuma Public Library for a Beanstack mobile app to help young patrons track reading progress.

The Brooklyn community will benefit from six additional PCA grants this year.  East Poweshiek Ambulance Service will receive $7,000 for a new power cot to aid in transporting patients.  The Brooklyn Community Food Bank will receive $4,686 to support increased operational costs, the Brooklyn Fire Department will receive $4,000 to support a new washing machine to help maintain firefighter equipment, and the Brooklyn Public Library will receive $3,500 for the digitization of roll and film collections in the library.  PCA grants will support $2,500 for new flooring costs at the Manatt Community Center and $1,500 for new attractions for the annual Flag Festival event.

Seven more projects in Montezuma will be impacted by PCA funding.  The Montezuma Fire Department will receive $8,562 for new protective equipment for firefighters such as face masks, fire side lighting kits and LED lights for low light situations.  The Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society will receive $6,311 for repairs and preservation efforts at the museum.  Poweshiek County Extension will receive $5,981 to maintain and expand a variety of youth outreach programs.  Roots of Home, a newly established nonprofit in Poweshiek County, was granted $5,000 to support the construction of a new transitional home to assist teens as they transition from foster care to entering college or the workplace. The Blakely-Stevens American Legion Post 169 was granted $5,000 for ADA compliant bathrooms, part of the overall construction project for a new facility.  The Poweshiek County Pioneer Cemetery Commission will receive $4,800 to replace the fence at Beason Cemetery and Montezuma Community Development will receive $4,800 for bathroom upgrades at East Park.

The Deep River community will benefit from two PCA-funded projects.  The fire department will receive $10,000 for new air packs and air tanks to replace old equipment that is no longer serviceable.  The city will receive $2,625 to repaint the exterior of the Deep River Community Center.

Guernsey was awarded $5,200 to cover the costs of grinding tree stumps in Guernsey Town Park, an ongoing effort to fully recover from the derecho.  The city of Hartwick will receive $9,063 to outfit a new multi-purpose vehicle to assist in medical, extrication, and brush fire calls as well as $5,000 to support efforts to make Hartwick City Park more accessible in accordance with ADA guidelines.

Malcom community members will benefit from a $9,000 grant to the Malcom Food Pantry to assist with increased demand, $2,500 for the Malcom Volunteer Fire Department for Community Safety Outreach which includes providing fire extinguishers and smoke detectors for families that need them, and a $2,000 grant that will support new solar streetlights.

The Searsboro Community Fire/EMS Association will receive $1,800 to replace old specialty foam firefighting equipment with upgraded systems.  The town of Victor will receive $2,500 to support renovation of Waterworks Park.

Three grants will impact multiple communities across the county. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank was awarded $5,000 to support backpack programs in multiple school districts to provide nutritious meals and snacks for students over weekends.  Poweshiek County Emergency Management was granted $2,750 to assist replacement of outdated hazmat suits.  Families Helping Families of Iowa, a new applicant this year, requested and was awarded $1,500 to support children and teens in foster care in Poweshiek County.

“Poweshiek County Alliance is committed to the sustainability and vitality of all our communities in the county.  The committee takes that very seriously and tries to ensure that all organizations in Poweshiek County can access these funds,” said Blanchard.  “I think that is reflected well in the 37 projects they were able to fund this year.”

Organizations with the 501(c)(3) designation and/or governmental entities and public schools are eligible to seek grant assistance. The 2024 grant application period will open in December 2023. 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, Poweshiek Community Fund, Carl and Joann Orr Fund, Brooklyn Community Fund, or Montezuma Community Fund may contact Nicole Brua-Behrens at GPCF, mail checks to GPCF, P.O. Box 344, Grinnell, Ia., 50112, or donate online at www.greaterpcf.org.