The Iowa West Foundation Board of directors recently approved $4.7 million in grants and initiatives funding to 18 nonprofit organization and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

In the foundation's focus area of education, more than $500,000 went to the Council Bluffs Community School District for the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Program at the two middle schools: Kirn and Wilson.

The Council Bluffs Community School District grant will also be used for the expansion of BLink: the free, community Wi-FI in Council Bluffs.

The Lewis Central School District will be the primary beneficiary of a $160,000 Heartland Family Service grant to provide mental health services throughout the school year. 

“Our schools are some of our greatest assets in the community, and the Iowa West Foundation is committed to supporting their efforts,” said Pete Tulipana, president and CEO of the foundation. “While each grant funds a unique program or service, they all provide students with the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.”

Wellness was another recurring theme for the final grants cycle of 2019, with three area YMCAs receiving funding for capital, operating and programmatic support.

One of those was the Nishna Valley Family YMCA in Atlantic, which received $32,500 for an expansion.   

“These funds will help our organization convert unused space into vital square footage that will allow us to carry out our mission of developing young children and improving wellness opportunities for our citizens,” said Dan Haynes, executive director. “These dollars will give us leverage to raise other funds that will allow us to improve the lives of area residents and better use the facilities we already own.”

Another facility set to improve the lives of area residents is the Iowa West Sports Plex, for which the Foundation awarded another $1,500,000. Construction is currently underway with completion set for spring of 2020.

The Iowa West Sports Plex will be operated and managed by the Council Bluffs Soccer Club.

The artificial turf field will be the size of a regulation youth 11 v 11 soccer field, with the ability to be separated into multiple smaller fields for 3 v 3, 5 v 5, and 7 v 7 soccer matches.

Set up for 11 v 11 or 9 v 9 teams, there would be a single field. Separated, the space would allow for three 7 v 7 fields or six fields for 5 v 5 or 3 v 3 teams

The fields can also be used for youth baseball, softball, flag football and other sports in addition to soccer as well as adult leagues.

Finally, as part of its ongoing commitment to rural southwest Iowa communities, the Foundation awarded $10,000 each to two rural area fire departments.

The Avoca Volunteer Fire Department will use the funds for bunker gear while the Crescent Volunteer Fire Department will use the funds for acquisition of a hands-free, mechanical CPR device.


The following 18 nonprofit organizations and government entities were recipients of $4.7 million in Cycle 3 grants from the Iowa West Foundation: 

Avoca Volunteer Fire Department — bunker gear replacement, $10,000

Blair Family YMCA — virtual fitness program, $15,000

Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska — improving secondary/middle school math proficiency in MOEC schools,  $50,000  

City of Coon Rapids — quality assurance lab renovation, $50,000

City of Council Bluffs — All-America City signage, $23,500; River's Edge parking garage, $387,685; and Convention and Tourism Bureau tourism activation, $50,000

Council Bluffs Community School District — International Baccalaureate, $435,600 and BLink VI, $100,000

Council Bluffs Goodfellows — matching funds for 2019 Goodfellows campaign, $25,000

Crescent Volunteer Fire Department — LUCAS device acquisition, $10,000

Heartland Family Service — HEAT 2020 (Housing and Emergency Assistance Taskforce), $170,000; Lewis Central Children's Mental Health Program 2019-20, $160,000

Historic General Dodge House Inc. — 2020 operations, $11,000

Iowa West Foundation Initiative — Downtown Arts/Culture Trail, $125,000

Iowa West Foundation Initiative — Iowa West Sports Plex, $1,500,000 

Iowa West Foundation Initiative — riverfront revitalization, $300,000

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa Inc. — wish granting in Pottawattamie County, $10,000

NeighborWorks Home Solutions — financial and accounting capacity building, $24,625

New Visions Homeless Services — services for the homeless in Council Bluffs, $115,000

Nishna Valley Family YMCA — childcare and healthy lifestyle renovation, $32,500

Omaha Conservatory of Music — Council Bluffs String Sprouts, $33,000

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum — afterschool STEM enrichment, $17,000

The 712 Initiative — Downtown Revitalization Fund, $1,000,000 

YMCA of Greater Omaha — YMCA Healthy Living Center program support in Council Bluffs, $60,000

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