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Press Release


Jerry Mathiasen, Senior Vice President

Iowa West Foundation Announces $3.1 Million in Grants for Second Quarter

Trails Initiative Highlights Funding     


(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation, which is headquartered in Council Bluffs (Pottawattamie County, IA), has announced nearly $3.1 million in grants for the second quarter of 2014. The grants will be used to assist  24 non-profit organizations and governmental entities with funding for area projects.

The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board received the largest grant, $1.1 million for an Iowa West initiative to begin the design and construction of priority sections of a county recreational trail system. 

The first phase of the multi-use trail initiative will be a paved 10-feet wide route approximately 16 miles along Railroad Highway (County Road G8L) between the eastern edge of Council Bluffs and Neola. The conservation board will work closely with the Pottawattamie County Trails Committee, a local group of stakeholders and volunteers who led a county-wide trails planning effort. The committee completed the plan and determined the priority trails.

“Historically the Iowa West Foundation has supported the development of trails in our region; our board has decided to take its support to the next level,” said Pete Tulipana, Iowa West President and CEO. “In the Foundation’s strategic plan, place making is a key strategy, and trails are a major part of this focus area.”

“The decision to start the initiative off with $1.1 million is backed by a recreational needs assessment in the county and community input from local citizens,” added Tulipana. “Both indicated that recreational trails add to the quality of life in the area, and have a positive impact on the health of people using them and on the local economy.”

A second priority segment from the trails committee has also been designated by the Iowa West Foundation for future funding. This new trail would cover approximately 13 miles and run along the Historic Lincoln Highway (IA Highway 183) from the north edge of Council Bluffs to the Hitchcock Nature Center just north of Crescent.

“Our county has been a leader in trails development over the years, however, much of it has been somewhat piece meal,” explained Mark Shoemaker, Executive Director of the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, “but now, thanks to the county-wide plan and support of the Iowa West initiative, we are taking a huge step towards a true system.” 

Brian Shea, trails committee chair and the mayor of Crescent, said “the hard work of our committee has been rewarded, and we look forward to raising more funds to leverage the generous funding of the Iowa West Foundation.”

Tulipana also highlighted an $82,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy for the acquisition of a 19-acre natural area in the Loess Hills of Pottawattamie County near Mills County. The area is next to Folsom Point Prairie. It is expected that this new area will protect numerous threatened species, provide hiking opportunities for the general public, and be owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy.

Funding for the Foundation’s grants comes from its investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), which receives contracted license fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA distributes funds to the Iowa West Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS Code. The Foundation makes grants throughout southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

Requests for Iowa West grant applications for the fourth quarter of 2014 will begin September 1, 2014, and will be accepted through October 1, 2014. Completed applications will be due October 15, 2014. The deadline to request applications for the third quarter has passed.

For more information including deadlines, interested organizations may visit the Foundation’s website at or contact Deb Debbaut, Director of Grants Administration, at 712-309-3003. Guidelines and procedures can be viewed on the website, and applicants can apply online.

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2014 Second Quarter Grants:

American Red Cross Loess Hills Chapter
General operating support for Council Bluffs site

Angels Among Us, Inc.
Financial aid for Omaha metro area families who have children with cancer

Ballet Nebraska
Support of annual productions including Council Bluffs performances

Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council
Camp storm shelters for scouts from southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska

City of Pilger (NE)
Relief services for community damaged by tornado

City of Villisca (IA)
Public library roof restoration

Council Bluffs Goodfellows
Program to assist local families during holiday season

Council Bluffs Senior Center, Inc.
Membership financial assistance for low income seniors

Friends of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum
Expansion of the education coordinator position at museum in Council Bluffs

Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs
Construction of seven houses and safety repairs to 45 homes

Iowa School for the Deaf Foundation
New playground for elementary students at ISD campus in Council Bluffs

Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc.
Educational program in Pottawattamie County to prevent child neglect or abuse

General operating support for family homeless shelter in Council Bluffs

Omaha Area Youth Orchestras
Support of music education opportunities for Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa youth

Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors
CITIES program to help rural communities meet infrastructure needs

Pottawattamie County Conservation Board
Regional Iowa West Foundation initiative for recreational trails

Theater programs in southwest Iowa schools on healthy relationships and bullying prevention

Santa Monica, Inc.
Half-way house services for Pottawattamie County women

Senior Futures, Inc.
Chore services for low income senior citizens in Pottawattamie County

Shelby County (IA) Historical Museum
Storage and preservation project

Special Olympics Iowa, Inc.
Southwest Iowa area events

The Christian Worship Center / MOHM's Place
Operating support for a homeless shelter and meal site in Council Bluffs

The Durham Museum
Facility maintenance initiative for museum in Omaha

The Nature Conservancy
Loess Hills land acquisition in Pottawattamie County to preserve native grasslands

TOTAL: $3,069,779

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.

Iowa West Foundation    |    25 Main Place, Suite 550    |    Council Bluffs, Iowa    |    712-309-3000