The Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa is the catalyst for lasting, positive change relative to the challenges facing the women of southwest Iowa.

Through purposeful planning, strategic insight, and collaborative needs-assessment within the communities that make up southwest Iowa, this endowed fund supports programming designed to improve the quality of life and well-being of women and their families.

In our community, many potential partners and organizations are ready to step forward and help create solutions for women across southwest Iowa.  As we move forward, our goal is to reach out and work closely with a variety of organizations to identify needs and design tangible solutions.

Increased focus on STEM educational initiatives, health and safety, personal finance, leadership, equity, and community engagement. 

Accessible and affordable childcare and early learning programming, and access to safe and affordable transportation related to childcare.

Services focused on women’s health, safety, education, workforce equity, and well-being. Programs promoting dignity and equity for women and their children.

Programs and services designed to help women age gracefully in in their communities, including access to quality and affordable healthcare, healthy foods, exercise, placemaking, family resources, and volunteer services for women aging in place.

The way to create positive, durable change is to connect the solution with the need. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa is a combination of both endowed and expendable funding within the Community Foundation. Established in 2018, this fund serves the following counties in Iowa: Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, and Shelby. 

women's fund of southwest iowa

September 28, 2023 | Rachel George, The Daily Nonpareil

The second-ever Impact for Women Summit was held Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Mid-America Center.

After the first hybrid-style event in 2021, this year's summit saw attendance more than double, with more than 450 women (and a few men) in attendance.

The biennial summit is an effort of the Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa, created by the Community Foundation for Western Iowa, to impact challenges facing area women in the fields of education, childcare, safety and well-being, and aging in place.

"This is an amazing opportunity for you to see the impact and be the change to lift up women in our community," said Donna Dostal, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Western Iowa.

Dostal shared her vision to "invest in women and make our community strong," calling on audience members to come together "as women in western Iowa" to make it a better place for future generations.

Four speakers shared their stories, each highlighting a different touchstone of what drives the Women's Fund.  Read the entire story here.

2021 impact for women summit
featuring Elizabeth Smart

women's fund steering committee receives state-level
volunteer recognition

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa Steering Committee, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Western Iowa, was recognized by the State of Iowa for its outstanding commitment and service. The committee accepted the volunteer award on June 21 at a ceremony where more than 100 individuals and groups were honored by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

In 2018, and after purposeful planning and a collaborative needs-assessment within the communities that make up southwest Iowa, the Community Foundation created the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa – an endowed Fund to support nonprofit organizations with a goal to improve the quality of life and well-being of women and their families. The ongoing work to lead the strategy, provide community-based insights and fund development is managed by a steering committee of 16 devoted individuals who are committed to bringing awareness to critical needs in southwest Iowa where poverty, lack of childcare, and issues around women’s safety and health are at a stage of crisis. Members include Kim Armstrong, Jerry Banks, Connie Casson, Kate Cutler, Heather Davis, Judy Davis, Donna Dostal, Michelle Franks, Heidi Hough, Lucy Hough, Ashley Jankowski, Alison Johnson, Suzanne Kotula, Darlene Pilling, Nancy Schulze, Inez Summy, Lana White, and Janet Whitson.

The Community Foundation and its Board are thankful for the efforts the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa Steering Committee puts forth each and every day and are proud to share that the Fund to-date has awarded nearly $125,000 in grant dollars across southwest Iowa.

The Women’s Fund steering committee at the inaugural
Impact for Women Summit in October 2021.

Pictured from left to right: Jerry Banks, Inez Summy, Donna Dostal (president and CEO of the Community Foundation), Nancy Schulze, Alison Johnson, Kate Cutler, Lucy Hough, Lana White, and Judy Davis.


Jerry Banks, left,  with members of the Community Foundation for Western Iowa's Women's Fund of Southwest Iowa steering committee and board, after presenting the fund with a $100,000 donation on Tuesday, January 14. From left, Jerry Banks, Kate Cutler (Board Member), Nancy Schulze (Board Member), Lana White, Connie Casson (Board Member), Darlene Pilling, Judy Davis, Heather Davis, Paula Hazlewood, Donna Dostal (President and CEO), and Tony Tauke (Board Chair). Photo by: Joe Shearer, The Daily Nonpareil.

banks family donates $100,000 to help women in southwest iowa

“Raising two daughters as a single dad gave me a unique perspective on the issues all women face that is different and more challenging than their male counterparts. My time spent working with Allan and Dianne Lozier for over 23 years greatly impacted my philosophy towards giving back to my community. This put into focus what areas of philanthropy I want to try and make a positive difference in. My hope is that by making this donation to the Women’s Fund of Southwest Iowa, it will help drive the mission and goals of this important initiative throughout southwest Iowa, including my two hometowns of Glenwood and Council Bluffs.” said Jerry Banks.

Read the entire story here.