County Foundation awards over $100K to area organizations

Gifts from the Enhance Henry County Foundation to 26 area organizations didn?t come in a box, with a bow or even from a store. Instead, they came in the form of checks totaling $115,000.

?It?s Christmas out here a couple of weeks early,? Foundation President Robert Meyer told a crowd during the award presentation on Tuesday, Dec. 12, in the Union Block Building.

This year, the Enhance Henry County Foundation received $133,672, from the state. Seventy-five percent of those funds go back into the community by awarding grants to county organizations, 25 percent of the funds must go back into the foundation?s permanent endowment. ?In addition, we took $18,772.24 from our endowment earnings and granted them as well,? Meyer said.

Before distributing the awards, Meyer explained the funds come from a law passed by the Iowa Legislator in 2004 (HF2302). The bill recognizes the effect Iowa?s casinos have on the economy and how the state?s 84 counties without a casino, specifically their nonprofit organizations, could use extra help. ?So far today, we have awarded $1,185,000 to this community. It?s been a really, really great thing for us,? said Meyer.

Tuesday was the 13th grant cycle for the Foundation and although the Foundation?s board would like to approve all of the applications, it is a competitive process. According to a news release from the Foundation, this year?s grant applications totaled $323,674.77. ?We may not give you what you asked for, but obviously you?re going to get something if you?re here today,? Meyer joked with the crowd before awarding the grants.

Once the checks were passed out and the applause had died down, Meyer told the organization representatives that the board tried their best to be fair and find a balance. ?It?s been fun, but it?s hard to select what we should give. One thing you?ll notice is we try to be fair to people in all the communities in Henry County,? he said. ?Again, what we try to do is give you enough money for seed (money) for your enhance projects.?

The award recipients, proposed project and the amount are listed below:

? Lewelling Quaker Museum, Inc, enhance disability access, Salem, $3,000

? New London Junior Baseball Association, enhance disability access, New London, $10,000

? Swedish Heritage Society Foundation, grounds beautification, Swedesburg, $1,000

? City of Wayland, handicap accessible enhancements, Wayland, $3,000

? Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, guest artist in residence, Mt. Pleasant, $3,000

? Winfield Mt. Union Community School, band enhancement, Winfield, $3,000

? Faith Christian Outreach Center (Cradle of Hope), Earn While You Learn, Mt. Pleasant, $2,000

? Mt. Pleasant Community School Foundation, security upgrades, Mt. Pleasant, $7,000

? Mt. Pleasant Music Boosters, Shine a Light, Mt. Pleasant, $3,500

? Iowa Wesleyan University, University Advancement Technology Enhancement, Mt. Pleasant, $13,000

? City of Salem, City Park improvements, Salem, $2,000

? American Legion Post 95, Salem Veterans Memorial, Salem, $1,500

? Henry County Health Center Foundation, provider recruitment campaign, Mt. Pleasant, $10,000

? Henry County Heritage Trust, publish Civil War book, Mt. Pleasant, $2,500

? Henry County Child Advocacy Council, Safe Families Projects and kits, Mt. Pleasant, $3,000

? Help To Others, gift cards, lodging and camp, Mt. Pleasant, $1,500

? Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association, lighting the way through McMillan Park, Mt. Pleasant, $15,000

? Old Thresehers Foundation, Festival of Lights office and shelter, Mt. Pleasant, $5,000

? Mt. Pleasant Fourth of July Committee, kid?s area, Mt. Pleasant, $1,000

? Winfield Community Development Group, Rick Rodgers Community Pool, Winfield, $7,500

? Winfield Firefighters Association Inc., station signage, Winfield, $2,500

? Young House Family Services, Christamore remodel and repair, Burlington, $2,500

? Parkview Home, communications upgrades, Wayland, $5,000

? Healthy Henry County Communities, promoting health at county events, Mt. Pleasant, $2,000

? Dover Historical Society, steam engine mural, New London, $3,000

? Mt. Pleasant Public Library, enriching books for young readers, Mt. Pleasant, $2,500