2020 community impact grants

Community Impact Grants are available to organizations whose innovative and meaningful work align with Pottawattamie County Community Foundation's mission to improve the lives of all county residents. 

American Midwest Ballet
Season 11 Outreach and Education | $1,500

American Midwest Ballet utilized 2020 Community Impact Grant funding to provide virtual outreach and programming for Pottawattamie County residents and low-income students, including "The Nutcracker Home Cinema Edition" -- a free film offered via Facebook and YouTube. American Midwest Ballet engaged individuals and organizations throughout Pottawattamie County including the following partners: Heartland Family Service, Impact Hill, and Methodist Jennie Edmundson.

Additionally, American Midwest Ballet partnered with Omaha Performing Arts to offer a digital field trip to "The Nutcracker" to over 10,000 students in Iowa, Nebraska and beyond and reached over 1,000 students through interactive Nutcracker workshops online.

Birthright of Council Bluffs
Formula Vouchers | $1,000

Pottawattamie County Community Foundation provided a $1,000 Community Impact Grant to Birthright of Council Bluffs to support formula vouchers. Birthright supports women and men distressed by an unplanned pregnancy, regardless of their circumstances, with resources, tests, parenting and adoption guidance, and clothing. Services are free, safe and confidential.

Through the formula voucher program, parents receive a voucher valid for one large formula for their baby (newborn to one year of age). Parents are also asked to register for the WIC program which also provides formula, and Birthright is available to supplement the formula need. Since 2018, nearly 100 families have benefitted from vouchers.

Carson Community Rodeo
Carson Rodeo VIP Booths, Phase 3 | $2,500

Carson Community Rodeo received a $2,500 Community Impact Grant to build two VIP booths during phase three of their Sky Box project. Pottawattamie County Community Foundation helped provide funding for the four existing VIP booths, built to offer a first-class view of the long-standing community rodeo.

The 43rd Carson Community Rodeo was held July 30, 31, and August 1 and featured 447 strong competitors, including four world champions. It is the largest community-area event with an average attendance of 5,000 spectators, 100 vendors and 100 volunteers, and has received national awards such as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Best Small Town Rodeo of the Year, and the Women's Professional Rodeo Association Justin Boots Best Footing Award.

The sold-out VIP hospitality booths accommodated 180 guests each night and offered attendees a more-developed way to experience the sport of rodeo.

"The Carson Community Rodeo is an extremely organized, popular, and well-attended event for Southwest Iowa," said Donna Dostal, PCCF President and CEO. "The three-day event is appealing to all ages and we truly applaud the effort and dedication that the rodeo committees and athletes put forth to see the CCR come true. It is such a gem in our community and we are delighted to support this fantastic event."

Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus
Back to School Extravaganza | $1,500

Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus received a $1,500 Community Impact Grant to support the purchase of earbuds and water bottles for their Back to School Extravaganza event in August 2020. The Back to School event benefits school-age children in Pottawattamie County and throughout southwest Iowa.

At the drive-through modified event due to Covid-19, 581 Children received free backpacks filled with school supplies and necessities, including: spiral notebooks, pocket folders, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, a water bottle, one set of earbuds, and two face masks.

Additionally, Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus partnered with Children's Square, MICAH House, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands to provide backpacks for children in need, and they also distributed 35 backpacks to elementary schools within the Council Bluffs Community School District: Edison, Carter Lake, Longfellow and Bloomer.

In total, 756 backpacks were distributed throughout our community, an increase of 256 backpacks from the 2019 event.

CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs
Basic Health Needs Assistance Program | $1,500

The Basic Health Needs Assistance Program (BHNAP) at CHI Health Mercy was created by the CHI Health Mercy Care Management Team in partnership with their Emergency and Behavioral Health Departments to address the immediate needs of our community's most vulnerable patient population. The Community Impact Grant funding of $1,500 from PCCF was used to purchase necessities for patients, including: essential clothing (jackets, undergarments, gloves, hats, socks,) and medical equipment (crutches, canes, walkers, blood sugar monitors, child car seats). CHI Mercy also used funds to purchase medications and transportation vouchers for patients needing assistance.

“We are beyond grateful for the funding from PCCF that allows us to care for our most vulnerable patients through a new effort called the Basic Health Needs Assistance Program," said Shannon Luther, director of care management at CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs. "This program is a reflection of our 133 year mission and our commitment to treating the whole person - not just the body – by providing comprehensive, compassionate care that goes beyond the walls of the hospital. Through this grant, we can provide our patients in need with a clean pair of clothes, a coat in the winter, crutches for a sprained ankle, and a bus ticket home.”

Avoca Main Street
Holidays on Main 2020 | $1,000

Avoca Main Street received a Community Impact Grant of $1,000 to support the 7th Annual Holidays on Main event, "Christmas Cruise."

Many nonprofit organizations have pivoted their events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Avoca Main Street was able to successfully execute their annual Holidays on Main event on November 28 with more than 100 families and 60 volunteers participating in festivities. 

The "Christmas Cruise" consisted of a drive-through experience with a scavenger hunt with 10 randomly drawn winners, take-out pancake dinners, hot chocolate and cookies, and inflatable holiday characters. Santa also made an appearance with his elves to accept letters.

City of Avoca
Avoca Main Street | $1,000

Avoca Main Street, Inc. received a 2020 Community Impact Grant to support their summer Farmers Market, and their annual Longest Table event. 

Avoca Main Street successfully hosted 16 Farmers Market events in a safe environment for community members and vendors last summer. They partnered with Golden Hills RC&D to provide educational offerings for attendees, and provided community engagement with 10 live musical performances and a sidewalk chalk challenge curated by Avoca Public Library.

Like many organizations, Avoca Main Street had to pivot their events during the COVID pandemic and as a result, created the "Most Generous Table" in lieu of their annual Longest Table event. They obtained local produce from their Farmers Market vendors and local food products through a regional food hub to package 50 multi-course meals for two people each. They distributed the meals free of charge in their community and received free-will donations to support their organization in return. 

Avoca Main Street successfully maintained their goals of hosting safe economically-boosting activities in downtown Avoca that allowed residents to gather and to obtain fresh healthy produce and baked goods.

City of Council Bluffs
Parks and Recreation, Recreation on the Move | $1,000

The City of Council Bluffs' new Recreation on-the-Move program is designed to increase City youth’s access to recreation activities and equipment. The mobile program travels to varying City neighborhoods each summer. PCCF granted the City of Council Bluffs a $1,000 Community Impact Grant to purchase much-needed equipment to fully-stock the vehicle.

Phoenix House Family Services
Completely Kids | $1,000

Council Bluffs Schools Foundation
Summer Read and Feed Program | $1,000

Council Bluffs Schools Foundation received a $1,000 Community Impact Grant to support their Summer Read and Feed Program.

The intention of Read and Feed, a program of summer Kids & Company, is to build at-home libraries and encourage reading in order to maintain literacy skills learned the previous school year by providing free books and offering weekend meal packs for children and families experiencing food insecurities. 

Last summer, Read and Feed distributed over 2,800 books and more than 1,400 meals to children during the summer months.

"We are incredibly thankful for community partners like Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. The most powerful way to improve reading achievement is to increase access to age appropriate reading materials. Since 2018, more than 6,200 books and over 3,000 meal packs have been distributed to students through the Read and Feed program."

- Greg Smith, Kids & Company Program Director

Council Bluffs Soccer Club
Soccer For All | $500

Pottawattamie County Community Foundation granted the Council Bluffs Soccer Club a Community Impact Grant to support the "Soccer For All Scholarship Program" -- a program that provides full or partial registration fee assistance for families needing financial support.

"The funds from Pottawattamie County Community Foundation have made a huge impact by providing access to sports for all kids," said Arian Haddix, executive director of Council Bluffs Soccer Club. "By supporting our mission and providing fee assistance to players of all ages and abilities, any player can be part of a team and experience all that youth sports can offer and create lifelong memories."

Crossroads of Western Iowa
Council Bluffs LINKS Program | $1,000

In 2020, Crossroads of Western Iowa received a $1,000 Pottawattamie County Community Foundation Community Impact Grant to support the purchase of a Hoyer Deluxe Power Lift for their Council Bluffs LINKS Program.

The patient lift is used to safely transfer clients with limited mobility between standing, sitting, and laying. It also promotes client independence while easing the physical demand on Crossroads Direct Support Professionals and Caregivers.

First Responders Foundation
First Responders Support Team Programming
Pottawattamie County | $2,000

Gibraltar Neighborhood Association
Fairmount Park Trailhead Project | $1,000

Golden Hills RC&D
2020 Southwest Iowa Art Tour | $1,500

Golden Hills RC&D
Pottawattamie County's Great Outdoors | $2,000

Golden Hills RC&D received a $2,000 Community Impact grant to support the creation of videos highlighting Pottawattamie County's great outdoors. 

Videos feature parks and wildlife areas in Pottawattamie County outside of Council Bluffs and the Loess Hills as part of WanderLoess, the marketing program for the Loess Hills Missouri River Region.

Areas featured in the videos include Arrowhead County Park near Neola, Botna Bend Park in Hancock, Edgington City Park in Avoca, the West Nishnabotna River Water Trail, and Farm Creek and Wheeler Grove wildlife areas near Carson and Macedonia.

This featured video highlights places to hike, bike, fish and paddle in eastern Pottawattamie County.

Historic General Dodge House
Virtual Tour and Education Project | $2,500

Impact Hill
2020 Programming | $2,000

Inter-Faith Response
Emergency Assistance Fund | $1,500

Jennie Edmundson Memorial Hospital Foundation
Caring for Our Community | $2,500

Jennie Edmundson Foundation received a $2,500 Community Impact Grant from Pottawattamie County Community Foundation to support the Caring for Our Communities Pharmacy Voucher Program for low-income older adults, and individuals who require multiple medications for chronic conditions.

When costs are a concern, patients are likely to take less of their medication than what was prescribed in attempt to reduce drug costs. The decision to skip doses or take lower doses of prescribed medicines can quickly lead to serious health complications and increased hospitalizations -- especially among patients with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart failure, or depression.

The Caring for Our Community Program provided services to nearly 1,700 individuals, and on more than 667 occasions, program participants received vouchers and/or financial assistance that allowed them to obtain medications; arrange for transportation; acquire durable medical equipment, and more.

"On behalf of all of our Caring for Our Community Partners, we would like to share our appreciation to PCCF for their ongoing support and dedication to caring for some of our most vulnerable individuals in our community," said Tara Slevin, Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, Jennie Edmundson Foundation. "We are honored to partner with such an amazing organization!"

Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska DBA Immigrant
Legal Center
Southwest Iowa Immigration Legal Services | $1,500

League of Human Dignity
Medical Equipment Loan and Rental Program | $1,500

League of Human Dignity received a $1,500 Community Impact Grant to support their Medical Equipment Loan and Rental Program. Funds helped League of Human Dignity continue to provide durable medical equipment to vulnerable community members for a nominal fee of just $5. Equipment included: walkers, bath benches, commodes, toilet risers, grab bars, portable ramps, and safety rails.

New Visions Homeless Services
MOHMS Place Meal Site | $2,000

New Visions Homeless Services received a $2,000 Community Impact Grant last year from Pottawattamie County Community Foundation to support MOHMS Place, a meal site that provides meals to the homeless and near-homeless population in our community.

A year unlike any other, New Visions expanded their food programs by 300% during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing 9,016 food pantries to 31,409 individuals. The MOHMs Place site alone served 109,588 meals and provided 13,215 sacked meals to single men, women, children, and families experiencing homelessness and hunger in our community.

"With the help of PCCF we were able to help meet the need of the community having our food security program increase by over 300%," said Brandy Wallar, New Visions Volunteer and Program Director. "Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been able to provide 402,861 meals to SW Iowa families through our meal site and pantry programs."

Oakland Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department
Pager Replacement | $1,500

Oakland Fire and Rescue received a $1,500 Community Impact grant from Pottawattamie County Community Foundation to support the purchase of six new pagers to replace 10+ year-old models. 

Pagers are the primary source of communication for the Oakland Fire and Rescue Department and are used to notify personnel of a call for service.

"Recently, Oakland Fire received grant money to purchase new pagers that have benefited our department in multiple ways," said Braeton Moore, Assistant Chief-EMS for Oakland Fire and Rescue. "The new battery lasts 3 times longer than our old Minitor 5 pagers -- we used to get close to an 8 hour charge, and now we can go for a day or two without a charge. Clear communication from dispatch and other agencies when Oakland has a call for service, and responding to other mutual departments for aid. The department is unable to purchase new Minitor 5’s as they are discontinued now and only the Minitor 6 is available for purchase. We would like to thank Pottawattamie County Community Foundation for their help in purchasing the new pagers and helping us continue to help our community and the surrounding communities as well!" 

Omaha/Council Bluffs Bridges Out of Poverty
Southwest Iowa Poverty Alleviation Initiative | $1,500

Omaha Conservatory of Music
Pottawattamie County String Sprouts | $1,000

Omaha Performing Arts
2020-21 Musical Explorers | $1,000

Omaha Symphony
2020-21 Mission Imagination at Iowa Western | $1,500

Pottawattamie Arts Culture & Entertainment
PACE Music & Movies in the Park/Community Events | $1,500

In 2020, many of our local nonprofit organizations had to pivot their programming and education efforts due to restrictions and guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment was unable to offer their annual Music and Movies in the Park last summer, but tirelessly worked to provide safe and socially-distanced programming for individuals of all ages. They utilized their Community Impact Grant funding from Pottawattamie County Community Foundation to offer free and low cost classes in October to community members that benefitted 81 adults, 27 children and 9 artists in a safe manor, and over 1,800 individuals virtually.

"We believe that when our community – young and old – connects with the arts, everyone’s lives are enriched," said Danna Kehm, CEO of Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment. "We’re committed to building a robust cultural environment, and the October programming supported by Pottawattamie County Community Foundation helped make that possible. Thank you to PCCF for your support during these challenging times."

Share My Smile
Mission Victory | $500

Southwest Iowa Mediation Center
Children In The Middle Class Pottawattamie | $1,000

Southwest Iowa Nature Trails Project
Wabash Trace Pottawattamie County Resurfacing | $2,000

Underwood Optimist Club
Community Ball Field Facility and
Concession Improvement | $2,000

Union Pacific Museum Association
Farm to Fork Tales; Stories of Recent
Immigrant Farmers | $1,000

Walnut Community Center Foundation
Youth Basketball | $2,500

West Pottawattamie County Agricultural Extension District
Speak Up Be Safe Program | $2,000

Wings of Hope Cancer Support Center
Healing Garden | $1,000

Wings of Hope Cancer Support Center received a $1,000 Community Impact Grant to support the creation of their indoor Healing Garden -- a healing space for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.

In addition to the new indoor Healing Garden, Wings of Hope was able to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by transferring many of their mental health services to an online format to keep patients and caregivers safe, such as creating two safe space environments called "Huddle Groups" that has supported over 217 contacts.

“The grant from Pottawattamie County Community Foundation was instrumental in jump-starting the programming aspects of the Healing Garden project," said Carolyn Ettinger, executive director of Wings of Hope Cancer Support Center. "Wings of Hope is proud of the fact that the slow pace of building alterations in 2020 due to the pandemic did not slow or prevent the development of new and exciting mental health programming. Our adaptation to an online method of service delivery for mental health programming was prompt and responsive to unfolding challenges."