Community Foundation awards $151,000 in grants

The Greene County Community Foundation in its 2018 grant cycle helped fund three projects to improve security, three library projects, three projects to enhance public outdoor spaces, safer equipment for two fire departments, two projects to provide better restroom facilities, home rehab projects and backpacks for needy school children. The 15 projects were selected from 41 applications and totaled $151,342.

Check presentations were made Monday evening at the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in Jefferson. Community Foundation board president Tom Wind was emcee, with vice president Jan Scharingson introducing recipients and treasurer Sherry Palmer presenting checks.

During his introduction, Wind gave a brief history and financial update of the Foundation.
The Greene County Community Foundation was formed in 2005 with 41 donations from local individuals and businesses totaling $54,000. Since then, local residents have contributed between $7,000 and $15,000 per year – a total of $182,000 – which has been deposited into the Foundation’s permanent endowment. That sum, managed by the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation on behalf of the local foundation, has grown to $370,000.

The Community Foundation continues to hold a fund drive every fall to add to the permanent endowment. This past year, 85 individuals or businesses donated a total of $8,800 in amounts from $10 to $1,000.

“These donors are committed and generous people of our county… They are the heart and soul of our foundation,” Wind said.

Until 2016, the Greene County Community Foundation received funds the state distributed to non-gaming counties. By law, 25 percent of that annual distribution was put into a second permanent endowment fund and 75 percent was distributed as grants. That endowment fund has grown to $352,000. The two funds together total $724,000, according to Wind.

With the opening of Wild Rose Casino, the local foundation no longer receives state funds, but receives a generous portion of gaming proceeds from Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation, the non-profit that holds the gaming license for Wild Rose.

This year the Foundation received $140,000 from Grow Greene County, bringing the total to $440,000 to date. The Foundation board tapped into one of its endowment funds, as allowed by law, to distribute $151,342 in grant awards this year.

Grant recipients were as follows:
• Sierra Community Theatre, $29,800, remodeling restrooms for ADA compliance, accepted by Chris Henning
• Greene County Early Learning Center, $25,360, classroom security and software to increase parent communication and streamline workflow, accepted by Jacque Andrew
• Churdan public library, $16,801, replace the air conditioner and interior furnishings for remodeled and expanded library, accepted by Shari Minnehan
• Grand Junction fire and rescue department, $16,500, new turnout gear, accepted by Brenda Ladd
• Grand Junction public library, $12,811, replace flooring and furniture, accepted by Diane Kafer
• Churdan Lions Club, $8,994, asphalt overlay on 22-year-old walking trail from the school to the city park, accepted by Cale Juergensen
• Scranton Alumni Association, $8,411, replace doors at Community Center and install keyless entry equipment, accepted by Dawn Rudolph
• Greene County conservation board, $8,000, replace pit-style latrine with prefabricated concrete restroom, accepted by Dan Towers
• City of Paton, $7,600, install pickle ball court and upgrade kitchen in shelter house, accepted by Judy Wilson
• Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands home repair projects, $5,000, accepted by Jeff Lamoureux
• Jefferson public library, $3,000, computer work station for youngsters ages 6-12, accepted by Jane Martino
• Jefferson Garden Club, $2,741, refurbish mural at memorial garden at the Raccoon River Valley Trail trailhead, accepted by Darla Johnson
• Greene County Youth Athletic Association, $2,512, remote key access system on building and improvements for energy efficiency, accepted by Jamie Daubendiek
• Rippey fire department, $2,312, OSHA-approved helmets for firefighters, accepted by Pete Johnson
• New Opportunities, $1,500, back to school supplies, accepted by Teresa Lansman

Members of organizations receiving Greene County Community Foundation grants

Wind acknowledged the managerial support provided to the Community Foundation by Home State Bank and Tim Heisterkamp of Journey Financial. They handle many routine bookkeeping and record keeping chores for the Foundation.

He also thanked Foundation board members Lois Last, Nancy Gerken, Scharingson, Connie Burkett and Linda Hedges, who have served the maximum number of years allowed by the by-laws and are going off the board.

Norm Fandel, president of the Grow Greene County board, made brief comments. He noted that Wild Rose Casino generated $1.4 million for charitable projects in the past year, and that after fulfilling commitments to the contiguous counties and Greene County schools and towns, and previously made multi-year commitments, that group has $400,000 for its own grants. The Grow Greene County awards night is slated for April 3.

“With all the grants that are available, with Grow Greene and the Community Foundation and the Rotary Club, I see there’s been a lot of thinking going on. Groups have come up with lots of projects in the county,” he said.

Grow Greene County in February announced a multi-year commitment to provide $4.5 million for the construction of the gymnasium and performing arts center at the new Greene County High School, should voters approve the school bond referendum April 3.

Grow Greene County has notified school districts and municipalities that it is reducing slightly the allocations they all receive annually so Grow Greene can continue awarding competitive grants as it has.

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