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Iowa West Foundation Grant

Grants to Iowa and Nebraska Nonprofits in Eligible
Regions for Health, Economic Development, and Education

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Iowa West Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/15/18 5:00 PM


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Grants to Iowa and Nebraska nonprofits for projects that seek to improve the quality of life in the southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska region. A Letter of Inquiry must be submitted by November 15, 2017. Funding is primarily focused on the areas of Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County. Eligible projects are those that provide services in economic development, healthy families, place-making, and education.

Areas of focus:

Place-making - The Foundation seeks to promote place-making by supporting efforts that make the region a desirable place for families to live and to work. To that end, the Foundation supports the following:
- Neighborhood development and revitalization
- Housing
- Recreational amenities and trails
- Arts and culture
- Community beautification.

Economic Development - A critical Foundation goal is to increase the standard of living and economic competitiveness of southwest Iowa and the Council Bluffs-Omaha metropolitan area. Key strategies to achieve this goal include:
- Developing a world-class workforce
- Promoting job readiness and workforce training/preparedness
- Strategic job creation
- Supporting entrepreneurship
- Developing new businesses in the region.

Education- The Foundation’s overall goals in education are broad-based and intended to: 1) increase kindergarten readiness and decrease educational inequity due to socioeconomic factors; 2) increase high school completion rates; 3) decrease high school dropout rates; and, 4) increase post-secondary opportunities. To achieve these goals, the Foundation supports:
- Preschool
- Early childhood development
- Children’s mental health
- Summer school
- Post-secondary readiness and access.

Healthy Families- The Foundation places a priority on programs that strengthen families, foster essential life skills and address critical human/social service needs in our community while helping individuals reach their full potential. Examples of such programs include proposals that address the following:
- Family stability
- Hunger
- Emergency/transitional housing
- Teenage pregnancy prevention
- Child abuse and mental health.

For regional proposals, the Foundation is primarily interested in focusing its support in two of our strategic areas: Economic Development and Place-making.

The Foundation funds three types of grants:

- Program Grants: Must be used to cover costs directly related to running a program such as education outreach, program materials, and/or personnel (only as it relates to supporting a particular program or project).
- General Operating Grants: This type of grant can be used to support the general (administrative or core) expenses of operating an organization, including staff and other expenses such as rent, utilities, etc.
- Capital Grants: These are Facilities and Equipment Grants. This type of capital grant helps an organization acquire and/or meet the needs of a physical asset (e.g. a new building, phone system, or van).

Criteria for grant evaluation include:
- Research-based proposals
- Support outside of the Foundation
- Organizational effectiveness
- Impact and evaluation
- Leveraging funds

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177891

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be either a public charity or a governmental entity, and more specifically as follows: an IRS-approved tax-exempt non-profit public charity qualifying under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) as described in IRC 501(c)(3); and furthermore a “public charity” qualifying under Sections 509(a), and specifically under 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) [but not 509(a)(3)]; and, finally, specifically not a private foundation as described in IRC 509(a); or, a school or school district applying through the local area education agency, or another governmental entity.

The Foundation will not accept proposals that:

- Seek to fund obligations (e.g., deficits, building costs, mortgages and other loans) incurred prior to grant notification
- Participate in, or intervening in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office [within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”)]
- Carry out propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation [within the meaning of section 4945(d) of the IRC]
- Seek to influence the outcome of any specific public election or carrying on, directly or indirectly, any voter registration drive [within the meaning of section 4945(d)(2) of the IRC]
- Make any “donative” grant (i.e., grants through a re-granting program) to any organization or individual (including scholarships)
- Undertake any activity for any non-charitable purpose or to the extent that use of grant funds would constitute a “taxable expenditure” [within the meaning of section 4945(d) of the IRC] or in any other manner which would jeopardize or cause the Foundation to lose its status as an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC
- Discriminate against any individual or group based on race, religious beliefs, ethnic or national origin, or otherwise legally impermissible criteria
- Benefit for-profit businesses
- Fund projects outside of Southwest Iowa or Eastern Nebraska
- Benefit church-affiliated organizations for religious purposes (however, support may be provided to non-religious programs like childcare, meal centers, etc.)
- Provide support for benefits and fundraising events, such as but not limited to galas, golf tournaments, and school dinners
- Fund campaigns or any fundraising effort that supports and organization’s endowment
- Fund public safety facilities (police and fire stations) or public safety vehicles
- Fund medical facilities (including hospitals, assisted living projects, nursing homes, independent care, and extended care facilities); medical research; medical equipment; medical education; and/or, hospital charity care assistance.
- Finance publications, films, books, seminars, symposia and conferences
- Fund proposals that were declined by the Foundation within the previous 12 months.

Proposals from individual schools, in our geographic area (see counties previously identified), must be submitted through the Green Hills Area Education Agency (formerly Loess Hills AEA 13). Proposals for capital improvements to school property will not be considered.

Pre-proposal Conference:

There are workshops held three times a year in conjunction with the Foundation’s grant cycles and precede the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) period.

The purpose of Iowa West Foundation’s grant workshops is to help nonprofit organizations and government entities learn about the grant application process, understand Foundation priorities, and ask staff questions to aid in the submission of strong proposals.

The workshops are intended for representatives of eligible organizations or entities interested in applying to the Iowa West Foundation in an upcoming grant cycle. Ideally, attendees will come to the grants workshop with a specific program, capital project, or use for operating funds in mind.

To receive information about upcoming grants workshops, sign up for the e-newsletter at: or email the Foundation for specific dates and times and you'll be sent a link to RSVP, or contact Pam Bierce, Grants Assistant (information in Contact Information below).

The general timeframe for upcoming Grants Workshops includes:
April, 2017
June, 2017
October, 2017

More information on Grant Workshops can be found here:

Grants Workshops are held at the Iowa School for the Deaf campus in the Lied Multipurpose Center: Iowa West Foundation Community Room.

Pre-Application Information:

For eligibility and restrictions:

For types of grants:

For grant guidelines:

For application process:

The Foundation strongly encourages applicants to leverage its grant awards. Grant requests to the Foundation may not exceed 50% of total program or project costs. Applicants must secure, at a minimum, a dollar-for-dollar match for their grant requests. Though organizations are able to request as much as 50% of a program or project, a lower ask is viewed more favorably.

In-kind support may be part of the match, but it cannot exceed 15% of total program or project costs.

The first step in applying is determining eligibility.
Prospective applicants take the brief Eligibility Quiz:

The immediate next step is submitting the required pre-application Letter of Inquiry (LOI). The LOI period opens fifteen (15) days prior to the Letter of Inquiry deadline.

Once an applicant’s Letter of Inquiry is approved by the Foundation, grant applicants are able to submit a grant application. Organizations may submit applications a maximum of two (2) grant cycles per calendar year. Approximately three months after an application is submitted, the Foundation will notify all grant applicants.

Deadline Schedule:

Cycle 1: LOI due October 17, 2016; Application due November 15, 2016.
Cycle 2: LOI due March 15, 2017; Application due April 17, 2017.
Cycle 3: LOI due July 17, 2017; Application due August 15, 2017.

Cycle 1: LOI due November 15, 2017; Application due December 15, 2017.
Cycle 2: LOI due March 15, 2018; Application due April 16, 2018.
Cycle 3: LOI due July 16, 2018; Application due August 15, 2018.

Grantees may receive programmatic and general operating funds for up to six (6) years consecutively. Moreover, in any eight (8) year period of time, a grantee may only receive a maximum of six (6) years of funding.

General support grant applications may only be submitted by organizations located in Pottawattamie County.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Deb Debbaut, Director of Grants Administration
Phone: 712-309-3003

General contact information:
25 Main Place, Suite 550
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Phone: 712-309-3000
Fax: 712-322-2267

For workshops:
Pam Bierce, Grants Assistant
Phone: 712-309-3000

Grant Coverage Areas:

Southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska, with the primary focus area being the City of Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County. A secondary area of focus includes counties that are contiguous to Pottawattamie County. Those counties in Iowa are: Cass, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery and Shelby; and, the Nebraska counties of Douglas, Sarpy and Washington. Other eligible Iowa counties are: Adams, Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Fremont, Monona, Page and Taylor; and Cass County, Nebraska.

For a map of the funding region:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Iowa;   Nebraska