Each spring the Wayne Community Foundation embraces the task set before them as they begin to review applications received from Wayne County organizations hoping to receive a grant for their non-profit organization. These grants are available to be used on projects within Wayne County by tax-exempt entities and this year the application process has been simplified to allow applicants a shorter online process.
“The big thing this year is that it is an online application this year,” said Wayne Community Foundation board member Caleb Housh. “In the past paperwork had to be filled out and turned in and this year it is a simplified method that is solely online and we pushed back the due date to March 6 to give people more time.”
The Wayne Community Foundation, established in 1999, was created to receive and distribute funds that will benefit the citizens of Wayne County.
These grants are made possible through the County Endowment Fund legislated by the State of Iowa. This program was created in 2004 being funded by .8 percent of the state’s gaming tax revenue. Each year these funds are distributed to participating community foundations and affiliate community foundations associated with the 84 counties without a state-issued gaming license.
“This is money that comes from gaming casinos across the state since we are a county that does not have a casino in it,” said Jared Chambers, President of the Wayne Community Foundation.
The program is administered by the Iowa Economic Department Authority, which works closely with the Iowa Council of Foundations in coordinating the program and determining the community foundation recipients of the funding.
The County Endowment Fund Program stipulates that the countywide foundations that participate in the program distribute 75 percent of the annually allocated funds to charitable projects or programs within their counties. The remaining 25 percent is used to build the foundation’s unrestricted endowment fund for the county to provide future grant support.
In 2019 a total of $99,373.69 was paid out after receiving 19 applications and requests for $224,874.73. The City of Humeston received the largest grant with $45,759.62 of those funds going towards the construction of a new clubhouse at the golf course. The Wayne Community School along with the FFA Alumni received $17,932.38 to put towards the construction of a new FFA building where the FFA pigs are housed.
Each year the foundation looks to place emphasis on one area with a focus grant. The focus grants are aimed for larger projects with the 2020 emphasis set on health, wealth and recreation.
“We try to focus on those areas for the year, but it doesn’t mean that’s all we will do,” said Housh. “We will split the money in half available this year. So half will go towards the focus grant for health, wellness and recreation and the remainder anyone can apply for it. If we get applications that we feel are better and not geared towards those, we don’t have to go that route.”
“It doesn’t limit them,” Chambers added. “The main thing to remember is just because the emphasis is health, wellness and recreation, any non-profit entity in Wayne County can still apply.”
“We’d like to put all the money of the focus grant half towards one big project to make a big impact with it, but we have to see the applications we receive,” Housh added.
This year $99,856.37 is available for grants and all grants must be completely and accurately submitted by the deadline date of Friday, March 6.
“The foundation committee will review and score all the applications received,” said Housh. “The online process is a more efficient way to apply and we changed some of the criteria this year.”
When filling out the application online, it is important to note once submitted, no changes can be made. Applicants are able to fill out portions, save their work and return to complete application at a later time.
Winners of the grants will be announced in April with the presentation of awards planned for late May.
Anyone with questions can reach the Wayne Community Foundation Program Coordinator and Executive Assistant Becca Dowdy by phone at (972) 742-1885 or by email at email@example.com. Past grant winners and other information can be found on the Wayne Community Foundation website at www.waynecommunityfoundation.org.