Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grants that keep on giving

 More than $96,000 in South Central Iowa Community Foundation grants were awarded early Monday evening to to a wide range of charitable causes in Lucas County, including the Lucas County Historical Society.

These grants, among the most wide-ranging and accessible sources of project funding for our non-profits, are greatly appreciated and have made a tremendous difference here during the last 20 years.

At the historical society, we'll be using a $3,000 grant to help offset the cost of major repairs to the support structure and floor of the 1880s Puckerbrush School. An additional $2,000 "proactive" grant will help cover the costs of other major unexpected expenses, including the replacement of our main computer system.

For those unfamiliar with Iowa's community foundations, they administer the state's County Endowment Fund Program as well as providing a variety of other services and incentives to promote charitable giving and local philanthropy.

Iowa is the only state in the United States where state-licensed casinos are required to contribute a share of their revenue to local charities and community projects. The County Endowment Fund Program serves the 85 Iowa counties that do not have casinos located within them. Seventy-five percent of their gaming tax revenue is distributed annually by these foundations to charitable projects, the balance invested in a permanent endowment.

 I can't even begin to name all of Monday's grant recipients --- but about half of us are in the photograph here --- taken at Pin Oak Lodge, where the awards program was held in conjuction with a meeting of the Lucas County Nonprofits Roundtable. The two historical society Franks, Frank Mitchell and Frank Myers, were in the other photo.

The grants ranged in size from several hundred dollars to several thousand. Russell, Derby and Lucas fire departments benefited, as did the Russell Historical Society. The Chariton Community School District, Lucas County Arts Council, Chariton Public Library, Lucas County Preservation Alliance (working with Hotel Chariton LLC on the hotel restoration process) and many more organizations and associations of do-gooders were among the recipients.

The South Central Iowa Community Foundation is headquartered in Chariton and serves five counties --- Lucas, Clarke, Decatur, Ringgold and Union. The Lucas County governing board is made up of Adam Bahr, Mary Stierwalt, Betty Hanson, Jim Wright and Ray Thurlby. Diane Bear, executive director, told us Monday evening that to date roughtly $10 million in grants have been provided through the foundation in its service area.

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