Osceola County foundation awards 29 grants

SIBLEY, Iowa -- The Community Foundation of Osceola County presented 29 grants totaling $91,217 to non-profit organizations throughout the county Thursday night at the Sibley Senior Center to celebrate its 11th anniversary.

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Bill Imhoff, Community Foundation member, Stan Johnson and Larry Ver Doorn hold the check awarded to the Ashton American Legion Post 290 Thursday night during the Osceola County Community Foundation awards ceremony. (Special to the Daily Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa - The Community Foundation of Osceola County presented 29 grants totaling $91,217 to non-profit organizations throughout the county Thursday night at the Sibley Senior Center to celebrate its 11th anniversary.


Since established, the foundation has reinvested $888,351.00 in the county to charitable organizations to fund projects in the arts, recreation, health, community services, environmental improvement and a variety of other community development areas.


Osceola County Economic Development (OCED) Director Mike Earll explained that the money for the grant program comes from the state legislature, which allocates funds for the counties that don't have a gambling presence within their borders.



Back in October, 38 non-profit organization submitted applications to be reviewed by a 15-member committee. Due to limited resources, only 29 organizations received the funds, with a maximum grant of $3,500. This year, 19 organizations received the maximum grant and 10 were granted awards ranging between $1,000 and $3,000.


Among some of the organizations receiving grants were the Ocheyedan American Legion Wood Miller Post, Melvin American Legion Post 470, Ashton Public Library and the S-O Science Club S.T.E.M. Program.


“It's amazing how much money has come into these communities,” Earll said. “Some of them are smaller communities, and they don't have the population to afford a lot of things.”


Earll noted that throughout the foundation’s 11 years, small communities have been able to receive significant funds that otherwise would be challenging to raise. He gave examples of  Ashton, which has received around 45 grants worth $146,000, and Melvin, which has received $100,000 through 30 grants.



“For some of our organizations this is a lifeline,” Earll said. “There aren't tremendous fundraising mechanisms out there to keep things going.”


Several groups applied for the grant to remodel and renovate the Ocheyedan Town Hall. The Ocheyedan American Legion, Days of Olde Committee and the Ocheyedan Economic Development Corporation received funds to revitalize the building.


Colleen Hemstreet, treasurer of the Days of Olde Committee, said the committee of six residents has been meeting for several months to put together a plan to renovate the facility. The committee came with the idea of improving the building as funds became available from its annual Days of Olde festival.  


Repairs started in early December, and the grant will allow the renovations to continue.  Hemstreet said the committee already has the bids for new windows and the installation of air conditioning system. New bathrooms are also part of the remodeling plan.



“Everybody in town is excited to been able to remodel the building since its last renovation was in 1940,” Hemstreet said.


The Ashton American Legion Post 290 was another grant recipient, and $3,500 will allow for the renovations to the Ashton Community Center. Larry Ver Doorn, a member of the post, explained there are plans to remodel the stage, and upgrade the sound system and the lighting. Some of those additions will start as soon as possible.


“I can’t say enough about how important is the building for the community,” Ver Doorn said.


He explained that the center is the only place in Ashton to host community events, and it also attracts people from surrounding areas.


Ver Doorn said it would be difficult for the community center to keep its doors open and affordable to residents without these kinds of contributions.


“I just want to thank the Community Foundation because it’s a vital aspect of our county, not only for us but for many who are doing similar things to keep our county a place where people enjoy living,” Ver Doorn said.

Other organizations that received grants include the Osceola County Conservation Board, Ashton Town and Country Organization, Osceola County Freedom Rock, Melvin Fire Department, Bright Beginnings of Osceola County, Sibley Recreation Department, Ocheyedan Township Cemetery, and Melvin Public Library, among others.

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