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MEDIA ADVISORY: The County Endowment Fund Program

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The County Endowment Fund Program

A Catalyst for Philanthropic Partnerships 

Community foundations in the eighty-five counties that do not hold a state issued gaming license are playing a vital role in supporting a wide-range of charitable needs, from border to border, across our state thanks to the County Endowment Fund Program. From child abuse prevention programs to natural disaster assistance; from marketing for regional tourism initiatives to adult computer and educational training; from providing essential safety equipment for emergency personnel to supporting leadership curriculum development: grants awarded are making a real impact on real lives by helping to address significant needs in every area of community life and highlight the essential role that community-based philanthropy plays in Iowa.

Details from the fourth year of this program are outlined in a report recently released by the Iowa Council of Foundations (ICoF) and the Iowa Gaming Association (IGA) titled Building Iowa’s Communities Through Philanthropy: A Snapshot of the 2008-2009 County Endowment Fund Program.” This report provides an overview of the County Endowment Fund Program as well as specific grant making information for each of the counties involved. Information highlighted was compiled based on reports submitted to the ICoF and the
Iowa Department of Economic Development by participating community foundations (beginning in August 2009).

Created through a percentage of the commercial casinos’ gaming tax revenues, the County Endowment Fund Program is also serving as a catalyst by leveraging additional contributions, both as lifetime and planned gifts, that will provide charitable support now and forever. “Through Iowa Community Foundations, citizens from all walks of life and with a variety of financial means are being engaged in community-based philanthropy. They are becoming part of the solution by building endowment funds that will create even stronger communities where Iowans live, work, raise families and retire!” said Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of the Iowa Council of Foundations.

Some Highlights in the Report:

- 2,244 grant awards were distributed by participating community foundations through the Program

- Grant awards from the Program in the 85 counties totaled approximately $8.4 million

- The Program generated 3,105 grant applications seeking funding of approximately $19.7 million

- Grants awarded were classified as 52% capital related with 48% focused on program aspects of projects

Building Iowa’s Communities Through Philanthropy: A Snapshot of the 2008-2009 County Endowment Fund Program” provides breakdowns for each of the 85 participating counties highlighting the grants awarded as well as general characteristics of the foundations. “It is truly inspiring to see the positive impact that the County Endowment Fund Program is making in our state,” said Wes Ehrecke, President & CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association. “We are pleased to be a part of the momentum that is generated when citizens are empowered to join together, hand-in-hand, with colleagues, neighbors, family, friends, and their local community foundations in creating an even brighter future for their communities.”

Members of the media are encouraged to contact their local community foundation representative to learn more about the impact of their community foundation and the County Endowment Fund Program.


Angela Dethlefs-Trettin

Director, Iowa Council of Foundations



Wes Ehrecke

President, Iowa Gaming Association

515.267.9200 or 515.229.5056 (cell)

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