Enhance Hamilton County Foundation announces start of 2017 grant cycle

October 27, 2016
Adri Sietstra (asietstra@freemanjournal.net) , The Daily Freeman Journal

tree option5The Enhance Hamilton County Foundation has announced the start of their 2017 grant cycle. Applications will be due on or before Dec. 31. Grant money will be awarded to selected applicants in March of 2017. Grant applications and details for review can be found online at the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation’s website at www.enhancehamiltoncounty.org.

As part of the grant application process, interested individuals and organizations who wish to apply must attend one of the two informational meetings that will be held. The first meeting will be held at the Stanhope Community Center on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The second meeting will be held at Kendall Young Library in Webster City on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. Both meetings will last one hour.

The meetings are designed to provide more information on the foundation, application process, time lines, and to assist potential applicants with providing complete and thorough information for grant award consideration.

“The purpose of the Enhance Hamilton County Grants is to provide philanthropic support for projects that address the needs of those residing in Hamilton County as well as those projects that are considered community betterment,” said Darcy Swon, Enhance Hamilton County Foundation Development Director. “Since the foundation was established in 2005, we have awarded over $900,000 that has assisted organizations with completion of worthwhile projects as identified through a community grants application process.”

According to Swon, grant monies are provided through the County Endowment Fund Program, implemented by the Iowa Legislature in 2005, which distributes a percentage of the State’s gaming revenue to qualified Community Foundations. As a result, after the 2016 grant awards were distributed, the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation granted over $926,463 in monies provided by the County Endowment Fund Program to charitable causes throughout Hamilton County.

Organizations that are not a 501c3 or a governmental entity will need to partner with one to be considered for grant monies.

“All applicants must be either a 501(c)(3), church or a 170 (c)(1) governmental entity or have a fiscal sponsor who will be legally and financially responsible for the grant and fiscal management,” said Swon.

The Enhance Hamilton County Foundation was established in 2005 to improve the quality of life throughout Hamilton County by promoting charitable giving and connecting donors with causes they care about.

“We have granted monies to many organizations including but not limited to: Kendall Young Library, Stratford Community School District, Stratford Early Learning Center, Hamilton County Fair Foundation, Williams Public Library, Ellsworth Public Library, Ellsworth Historical Museum, All Cultures Equal (ACE), City of Stanhope, Youth and Shelter Services, South Hamilton School Foundation, Arts R Alive, Webster City Community Theatre, Legacy Learning Center, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Hamilton County Crimestoppers and HERO,” Swon said.

Swon explained the grant monies awarded by The Enhance Hamilton County Foundation provide benefits for the whole community.

“The grant monies the Foundation awards builds community connections through social capital, strengthens arts and cultures, provides ongoing community betterment, supports education, improves health, and strengthens children, youth and families,” said Swon.

The Enhance Hamilton County Foundation has also contributed to a series of other community needs.

“In addition to the monies we grant out through the application process, we reserve monies to use for two Food Pantry Challenges where the Foundation matches the first $2,000 contributed by charitable donors benefitting the five food pantries and those they serve throughout Hamilton County,” said Swon. “A total of $4,000 is donated by the Foundation itself for these challenges. Also, a Youth in Philanthropy program has been providing grant monies for youth to use to address needs in their communities. For example, South Hamilton students have done a great job raising money for causes such as Kids Cancer Squad and ACE. Other monies distributed through the Youth in Philanthropy program over the years includes 4-H and Boy Scouts.”

There is no pre-set limit that organizations are able to ask for to assist with their project. However, it is based off available funding and the project total cost.

The Foundation looks to grant monies of no more than 50% of the total project cost. The grant review committee uses a Rubric to score the applications and tend to score those applications seeking 20-30% total project costs higher. “The Foundation believes that we are better together and encourages organizations to find other funding sources including grants, charitable donors as well as in-kind to offset the project costs and looks at the grant monies distributed as a gap funding resource,” Swon said.

For more information about the foundation or the grant cycle, contact Swon at (515) 835-0437 or email dswon@enhancehamiltoncounty.org/.

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