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Poweshiek County Community Foundation Grand Recipients Announced

April 29, 2020, The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) is pleased to announce the 2020 Poweshiek County Alliance (PCA) grant recipients for a variety of projects throughout the county.  In total, $160,366 in grants were awarded among 45 projects which will benefit Poweshiek County residents in a myriad of ways.  Since the program’s inception 14 years ago, nearly $1.3 million in PCA grants have been distributed to community development projects throughout Poweshiek County. 

“Supporting communities through PCA grants is one of the most important and impactful things the Community Foundation does,” says Amy Blanchard, Program Manager of GPCF.  “The funds are especially timely this year as many local nonprofits are seeing a drastic increase in demand for services.  The GPCF board quickly adopted a policy to allow grant recipients to shift funds from original project proposals to enable supporting budget demands that may take precedence during the pandemic.”

PCA grants are supported by five funds administered by GPCF.  The Poweshiek County Alliance (PCA) Fund is an endowed fund designated by the Iowa Legislature to receive an annual portion of gambling revenues.  This fund granted $120,095 this year to support projects throughout the county.  The Community Fund for Poweshiek County, an endowed fund sustained by contributions from hundreds of local individual donors, granted $16,864.  

Three additional funding sources added a combined $18,243 to help expand the outreach and impact of the PCA grant program this year.  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, this year the Orr Fund awarded $15,300 in grants to support five projects including three focused on addressing food insecurity. The Local Foods Connections, MICA Food Pantry and the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative each received funds to increase access to healthy foods for families in need.  Unity Point Health-Grinnell Regional Medical Center received a grant to purchase an epidural positioner device and Capstone Behavioral Health received a grant for technology upgrades to better support client services. 

The Brooklyn Community Fund and the Montezuma Community Fund provided $2,950 among three grants for community-specific projects including computer upgrades at the Brooklyn Public Library, equipment purchases for Montezuma Little League, and continued support for Montezuma Pride Day, in collaboration with the Top 10 IT Companies in Chicago.  Poweshiek Community Fund dollars also supported the purchase of a handicap accessible van for residents at Montezuma Specialty Care with a grant of $7,500.

PCA funds will support an additional $20,250 among six projects in the Grinnell community.  Grants include funding technology needs for the LINK after-school program, science and technology curriculum for the Grinnell Early Learning Center, marketing efforts for the Grinnell-Newburg School Foundation, and artist residency programs for the Children’s Choir and Grinnell College Museum of Art.  Poweshiek County Emergency Management Agency received funding for an emergency sheltering trailer that will be stored in Grinnell but will serve the entire county.  

First responders throughout the county will receive nearly $43,000 in grants to improve services in communities.  Fire departments in Brooklyn, Malcom, Hartwick, Deep River, and Montezuma received funds to upgrade equipment and fire house structures.  The city of Guernsey will replace their outdated storm siren and the East Poweshiek Ambulance Service received $10,000 to upgrade patient moving equipment for its second ambulance to help meet increased need in the county for ambulance service.

Grants focused on providing or improving educational opportunities for youth throughout the county totaled $17,136.  A project through Pow-I 80 focuses on educating teachers about technology-driven jobs in the county and how to integrate elements of that technology in lesson plans.  Students in the BGM School District will benefit from four projects including expanding the 5th and 6th grade literacy libraries, a playground upgrade, an outdoor classroom and a leadership program for elementary school girls.  Behavior interventionists in the HLV school district will receive support for the student store and Poweshiek County Extension received funding for technology upgrades and a financial literacy curriculum.

Projects supporting food insecurity totaled $15,566 and will support families through several programs.  The Brooklyn Community Food Bank received a grant to expand freezer capacity and the Montezuma Food Bank requested help to meet personal hygiene needs in the community.  The Malcom Food Pantry will receive funds to purchase needed food items to support local families.  The BGM Bear Bag program and BGM Bear Closet each received grants to support food and clothing needs for students.  

Community enhancement projects totaled $28,004 and will help improve several important venues.  The Brooklyn Opera House received funding for stage lighting.  The Hartwick Community Center requested funding for new flooring and the First Presbyterian Church in Montezuma will receive funds to help install air conditioning in the gymnasium by United PLumbing Heating Air & Electric.  The Brooklyn Historical Society will restore two stained glass windows in the historic Manatt home and the community of Searsboro will improve landscaping at the Community Center.  The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will replace signage at the north end of town and the Bonham Trail Entrance in Montezuma will be upgraded to improve access.  

Two projects will focus on historic preservation for a total of $2,500.  The Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogy Society requested support to bind and organize local newspapers and the Poweshiek County Pioneer Cemetery Commission will repair fencing in the Boswell/Harper Cemetery.  

The PCA grant committee also designated $5,000 to be set aside for a rolling grant program to fund requests of $1,000 or less throughout the year.  “The Instant Impact funds help us meet urgent grant requests that pop up outside of our short granting window in the winter.  The simple application encourages local nonprofits to seek our assistance when needs arise which is exactly what we’re here for,” says Blanchard.  A complete list of grants awarded can be found on the GPCF website at

Organizations with the 501(c)(3) designation and/or governmental entities and public schools are eligible to seek grant assistance.  The 2021 grant application period will open in December 2020. Organizations may contact GPCF at 641-236-5518 for an application. 

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  

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