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Endow Iowa gives Osceola County nonprofits $87,000 boost

SIBLEY, Iowa — The Community Foundation of Osceola County will award 28 grants totaling more than $87,000 during its 10th anniversary celebration Tuesday evening in Sibley.

Funds from the Endow Iowa program, generated from Iowa’s gaming industry, have been awarded in each of the past 10 years to counties in the state who do not have a gambling influence. In that decade, more than $752,000 has benefited city and county parks, museums, legion halls, ambulance services, volunteer fire departments, music boosters and the Osceola Community Hospital — just to name a few.

“It’s a really neat program,” Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll said. “It’s a way to improve some of the things around the county.”

Last year, Osceola County received more than $93,000 to distribute as grants. This year, the fund dropped by several thousand dollars.

“Evidently gambling wasn’t quite as good this last year in the state of Iowa,” Earll said. The Iowa Legislature appropriates the funds.

Despite having a bit less money to work with this year, Earll said a committee comprised of two representatives from each Osceola County community — and two at-large county representatives — worked to ensure many of the grant requests were 100 percent funded.

“We had an all-time record number of grant requests received,” said Earll of the 44 applications totaling more than $145,000 that were received by the committee. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to be able to fund them all.

“A lot of sound ideas weren’t able to be funded this year. It shows there is a real need in the community.”

Applicants denied funding this year are always encouraged to reapply in the future.

Those awarded grants were chosen based on need. Earll said the organization’s ability to get donations and bring in volunteers is taken into consideration.

On Tuesday, representatives from each of the 28 organizations receiving grants will be presented with their checks. The awards ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Sibley Senior Center. The general public is invited to attend.

Earll said that while all of the grant recipients have been notified, names of the organizations and the amount they received won’t be announced until that evening.

Over the years, Hawkeye Point — the highest point in Iowa — has been awarded numerous grants. Established as a county park, work is ongoing at the site north of Sibley. An observation deck was constructed with past grant awards, and the most recent projects have included the construction of a shower facility and tree plantings on the adjoining campground.

“(The grants awarded have) been able to help purchase Jaws of Life … medical equipment,” Earll said.

At the Melvin Legion, grant dollars were used to replace the furnace; while the Ashton Legion received a grant to install automatic door openers and purchase a video projector for use during weddings and auctions.

The use of the funds varies across the county — the impact affects many.

“It’s been a real plus for our communities,” Earll added.

An affiliate of the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation and the Iowa Area Development Group Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Osceola County can assist donors who wish to make outright and testamentary gifts to the CFOC and support charitable organizations important to them.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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