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MEDIA ADVISORY: Building Iowa's Communities Through Philanthropy

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Community foundations in the eighty-five counties that do not hold a state issued gaming license play 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 building improvements to supporting micro-enterprise programs; from interactive classroom stations to establishing local foods programs; from nature centers and trail development to life saving rescue equipment: grants made by local community foundations support every facet of community life.

Details from the fifth 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 2009-2010 County Endowment Fund Program.” This report provides an overview of the County Endowment Fund Program as well as specific grantmaking information and general characteristics for each of the countywide community foundations 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 2010).

Created through a percentage of the commercial casinos’ gaming tax revenues, the County Endowment Fund Program also serves as a catalyst by leveraging additional, private contributions that will provide charitable support now and forever. “By engaging citizens from all walks of life and with a variety of financial means, community foundations are working to ensure that community-based philanthropy remains alive and well throughout our State. It is through these charitable investments that we are helping to build a solid nonprofit infrastructure that will continue to make our communities even stronger,” said Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Executive Director of the Iowa Council of Foundations.

Some Highlights in the Report: 
- 2,259 grant awards were distributed by participating community foundations through the Program 
- Grant awards from the Program in the 85 counties totaled approximately $8.5 million 
- The Program generated 3,141 grant applications seeking funding of approximately $19 million 
- Grants awarded were classified as 56% capital related with 44% focused on program aspects of projects 
- Since 2005, more than 9,376 grants have been awarded through this Program totaling more than $30.2 million
- Participating community foundations have grown in total assets from $16 million in 2005 to $55 million in 2010

“The energy that is put into action when citizens are empowered to join together to create even brighter futures for their communities is inspiring. As we reflect on five successful years of this Program, we also eagerly anticipate the continued growth and impact that will be made by Iowa community foundations,” said Wes Ehrecke, President & CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association.

The publication is available for download on the ICoF’s website for Community Foundations and the Iowa Gaming Association’s site. Members of the media are encouraged to contact their local community foundation ( to learn more about the impact of their community foundation and the County Endowment Fund Program.

Angela Dethlefs-Trettin Executive Director
Iowa Council of Foundations


Wes Ehrecke President
Iowa Gaming Association
515.267.9200 or 515.229.5056 (cell)

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