If members of this big group look happy --- they had good reason to on Monday evening as the South Central Iowa Community Foundation announced distribution of $91,485 in 2015 grants to worthy community projects across Lucas County. They organizations these people represent received checks ranging from under $1,000 to more than $7,000 to help fund their good works.
In addition to the funds distributed Monday, $10,000 was presented to Lucas County supervisors during a special awards program last week to kick-start a fund-raising effort for courthouse clock restoration --- a project that carries an estimated cost of $60,000.
The Community Foundation and others like it across the state administer Iowa's County Endowment Fund Program and offer other services and incentives to promote charitable giving and local philanthropy. The foundations, which serve counties where state-licensed casinos are not located, receive a share of annual gaming tax proceeds. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds are distributed annually during programs like this; the balance goes into permanent charitable endowments for the counties they serve.
The South Central Iowa Community Foundation is headquartered in Chariton; Monday night's program was held in the Lodge at Pin Oak Marsh.
The Lucas County Historical Society was fortunate enough to receive two grants. One, for $2,500, will be matched with society funds to pay for this summer's program of repairs to the Stephens House; the other, for $2,984, will be matched to replace air conditioning condensers near the end of their useful lives that serve the Lewis Building. The society's board and staff are extremely grateful.
I took several check-presentation photos --- but to be honest about it, the four used here are here largely because (1) they were in focus and (2) everyone involved had his or her eyes open. But they do give an idea of the variety of the projects funded.
Assistant principal and athletic director Tim Milledge receives one of three checks, each for approximately $7,000, that went to the Chariton Community School District. One will help fund locker room repairs, another will be used to help replace wall mats in the Middle School gymnasium and the third will be applied toward replacement of the sound system in the high school gymnasium. That's Jim Wright, of the Foundation board, at left.
Russell Fire Chief Craig Alexander (left) and Capt. Chris Feehan accept a check that will be used to help fund the purchase of safety equipment.
Kim Etter, representing the Lucas County Fair Board, accepts a check that will be used to continue a refencing project on the fair grounds. Foundation board member Betty Hansen is at right.
Two grants went to Derby, accepted by City Council member Norma Rush. One will fund repairs to the roof of a main street building used for storage; the other, to make Community Center bathrooms handicap accessible. Foundation board member Mary Stierwalt is at right.
The following were among other grant recipients: Circle of Life Hospice (new nurse call system); Chariton Community School band program (new marimba and other instruments); Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust, funds to demolish a derelict house in Chariton; Lucas County Interchurch Council, funds to repair its building; Chariton Fire Department, safety equipment; Friends of the Airport, terminal improvements; Vredenburg Aquatic Center, sun shades; Chariton Recreation Center, divider curtain for multi-purpose room; Chariton High School Alumni Association, matching funds to establish an endowment; Master Gardeners & Friends, new planters for the Chariton square; Lucas County Genealogical Society, new printer and computer; Kids Life Discovery Center, outdoor toy storage structure; and Lucas County Conservation Board, new tables for Pin Oak Lodge.
Foundation board members Ray Thurlby and Adam Bahr are included in the group photo but managed to move fast enough to avoid being photographed individually. More information about the Community Foundation as well as application forms may be found at its Web site --- or by stopping at the Foundation office on the east side of the Chariton square.