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Press Release

September 23, 2014

Jerry Mathiasen, Senior Vice President

Iowa West Foundation Funds Children's Mental Health Initiative at Lewis Central Community Schools


(Council Bluffs, IA) The Iowa West Foundation announced today that it will provide $151,000 for an initiative to implement the first comprehensive school-based mental and behavioral health program in southwest Iowa.

An Iowa West Foundation initiative is different than a grant awarded in its normal grant process. An initiative has three key components: it meets a critical need which surfaced during a comprehensive community outreach; the Foundation has made meeting that need a top priority; and, community partners have come together to develop the need’s response.  

This new mental health initiative will be funded by Iowa West, and implemented in partnership with Lewis Central Community Schools and Heartland Family Service. Funding from other sources will also be secured to leverage the program, which will begin during the current school year.      

The school-based program will consist of four significant parts:

  • Therapeutic services for K-12 students;
  • Teacher training to help identify mental and behavioral health issues;
  • Universal assessment of fourth and fifth grade students to identify issues more quickly, as a result, ensuring greater access to addressing problems before they become more severe;
  • A social worker to work with families to remove barriers for children and families.

For more information contact:
Dr. Mark Schweer, Superintendent, Lewis Central Community Schools, 712-366-8248

Mary O’Neill, Assistant Vice President, Behavioral Health, Heartland Family Service, 712-325-5605

Kathleen Rapp, Vice President, Grants and Initiatives, Iowa West Foundation, 712-309-3005

For more information about the Iowa West Foundation, visit

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