The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) is pleased to announce that $167,864 were distributed this year among 42 projects serving Poweshiek County residents through the 2021 Poweshiek County Alliance (PCA) grants. Since the program’s inception 15 years ago, nearly $2 million in PCA grants have been distributed to community development projects throughout Poweshiek County
“Last year’s PCA grants were critical in supporting nonprofits facing a drastic increase in demand for services due to the pandemic and limited capacity to fundraise,” says Amy Blanchard, Program Manager of GPCF. “After a long year, we are looking toward a brighter future as we continue to support the missions of nonprofits, while also funding new infrastructure, services, and improvements to meet the needs of our communities.”
PCA grants are supported by five funds administered by GPCF. The Poweshiek County Alliance (PCA) Fund is an endowed fund designated by the Iowa Legislature to receive an annual portion of gambling revenues. “Despite receiving lower state county endowment dollars this year due to casino closures, a great investment year for the other four funds which support PCA grants still allowed us to grant about $1,000 more to projects throughout the county this year than last year,” shared Blanchard. The Community Fund for Poweshiek County, an endowed fund sustained by contributions from hundreds of local individual donors, contributed $19,430 in grants.
Three additional funding sources added a combined $42,558 to expand the impact of the PCA grant program this year. The Carl and Joann Orr Fund, established in 2017, immortalizes the generosity of the late Grinnell community member, Joann Orr. With the intent of empowering and aiding women, children, and other at-risk community members within the Grinnell area, the Orr Fund awarded $36,967 across eight projects. Almost $16,000 of those dollars will be used to address food insecurity and provide equitable access to healthy foods for Grinnell students and families by supporting initiatives such as Tiger Packs with $3,157, Local Foods Connection with $4,700, the Double Up Food Bucks program with $5,718, and the MICA Backpack Food Program with $2,000. The Grinnell Regional Medical Center also received a $8,747 grant via the Orr Fund to replace old and damaged wheelchairs with safe equipment for transporting patients, and LINK Grinnell received a $5,000 grant to continue and expand their new youth mentorship program. A $6,645 Orr Fund grant awarded to Read 2 Lead will provide books and literacy care packages to children served by MICA and other local family support programs, and $1,000 will be used to increase the accessibility and visibility of the Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium’s JPK Fund.
The Brooklyn Community Fund and Montezuma Community fund are endowed, donor-supported funds. This year, the Brooklyn Community Fund granted a total of $3,607 to community specific projects, designating $2,000 to support the operation of the BGM School District’s Bear’s Closet which provides students with groceries, apparel, hygiene items, and other resources, and $1,607 to expand the Brooklyn Public Library’s book capacity with new shelving units, which will be paired with $2,393 from the PCA fund to meet the entirety of the request. The Montezuma Community Fund granted $1,984 to the Montezuma Public Library which, along with $3,015 from the PCA fund, will be used to update the library’s internet security technology, work computers, and print services to meet the increased demand for secure internet and technology services.
In response to an increased demand for food assistance over the past months, the 2021 PCA grants awarded over $28,500 to nonprofits working to address food insecurity in Poweshiek County. These grants include those funded by the Orr Fund as well a $3,500 grant awarded to the Malcom Food Pantry and grants of $2,000 to the BGM Bear’s Closet and $4,500 to the BGM Bear Bags programs serving food-insecure students of the BGM Community School District. Imagine Grinnell’s Plant to Plate Composting Project received a $3,240 PCA grant enabling them to expand their pilot compost pickup service.
Many of this year’s PCA grants will also enable valuable equipment and technology updates for local nonprofits. A total of $30,000 were distributed to emergency services throughout the county for critical technology upgrades to include $5,000 each for East Poweshiek Ambulance Service and Poweshiek County Emergency Management, $7,000 for the Deep River volunteer fire department, and $10,000 for the Montezuma Fire and Ambulance Volunteer Service. The Hartwick volunteer firefighters will receive $2,300 to purchase a new pancake griddle to assist with future fundraisers.
PCA grants will fund structural improvements to Montezuma Memorial Hall with a sum of $5,741, the Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society with $1,500 to upgrade microfilm, the Searsboro Community Center will receive $5,000 for exterior improvements, and the city of Guernsey will receive $5,000 to remove ash trees and repair a maintenance building. The Brooklyn Opera House was granted $9,245 to enhance ventilation for the theatre’s film projector and the Poweshiek County Fair Association will receive $5,000 to continue the bleacher replacement project. The Poweshiek Pioneer Cemetery Commission will receive $600 for maintenance and repair supplies for pioneer cemeteries.
Three PCA grants were awarded to housing complexes for elderly, disabled, and low-income Poweshiek County residents, funding driveway and parking lot repairs at Malcom Manor Senior Apartments with $5,000, beautification and tree planting at the Brooklyn Housing Inc. apartment complex for $2,000, and critical window replacements at the Montezuma Sunny View Square apartment complex for a total of $5,000. After damage from the derecho, the City of Deep River received a $5,000 grant to rebuild their playground to meet handicap accessibility guidelines. Poweshiek County Extension will purchase a digital scanner to assist with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance with a $1,000 grant. In Hartwick, a PCA grant for $5,000 will support a new concrete city welcome sign to replace Hartwick’s wooden welcome sign which was destroyed in last summer’s Derecho.
Several nonprofits that focus on furry residents also received funding. In My Back Yard will receive $2,500 to fund trap-and-release spay and neuter procedures on stray cats. Poweshiek Animal League Shelter (PALS) will receive $1,875 to support community wide spay and neuter services as well. The Iowa Sar K9 Fund requested assistance to fund a search dog training available to volunteer dog trainers throughout the state. PCA will support the project with $2,034.
In addition to physical updates throughout the county, this year’s PCA grants will support several projects that directly serve youth, such as a $3,850 grant for LINK Grinnell to purchase iPads and a charging cart allowing after-school students to access virtual and individualized learning resources and $4,300 for Poweshiek County Extension’s 4-H and Clover Kids programs. BGM Youth Sports will receive $1,516 for storage and a new scoreboard. The Grinnell Community Early Learning Center received $2,980 to fund the construction of a Nature Playground, incorporating the existing landscape and natural materials into an interactive play area for its students. A grant of $2,215 will also allow the Grinnell College Museum of Art to adapt their typical summer programming for youth to a distance format and purchase supplies for and distribute arts and literacy activity bags.
A complete list of grants awarded can be found on the GPCF website at www.greaterpcf.org.
Organizations with the 501(c)(3) designation and/or governmental entities and public schools are eligible to seek grant assistance. The 2022 grant application period will open in December 2021. Organizations may contact GPCF at 641-236-5518 for an application.
The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that assists donors in supporting local charitable organizations to improve the lives of people in the area. Individuals who wish to support the Poweshiek County Alliance Fund, Poweshiek Community Fund, Carl and Joann Orr Fund, Brooklyn Community Fund, or Montezuma Community Fund may contact Nicole Brua-Behrens at GPCF, mail checks to GPCF, P.O. Box 344, Grinnell, Ia., 50112, or donate online at www.greaterpcf.org.