Announcing 2023 Grant Recipients

This year, we awarded over $50,000 to nonprofit organizations through our competitive grant process. We received applications from qualified organizations for projects or programs that benefit the community of Waterloo in one of four areas: health and human services, arts and culture, education, and economic development.

“We are excited to partner with these organizations and encourage their inspiring work in Waterloo. Our committee believes these programs are timely, impactful, and create new opportunities for people in our community,” says Dr. Bev Smith, Grants Committee Chair.

After careful consideration of the volunteer Grants Committee, the 2023 recipients include:

Allen College, Salvation Army Partnership (ACE-SAP) Free Clinic ($5,000)

  • ACE-SAP’s goal is to expand the number of low/moderate income, uninsured individuals who have access to physical, vision, and dental care, including prevention, maintenance, and early intervention. Through this collaboration between Allen College, Salvation Army, and Hawkeye Community College, dental services will be provided to 60 clients in need.

Black Hawk County Public Health, Supporting Waterloo Community Gardens to Increase Food Access Among Priority Populations ($5,000, made possible by Margaret Bradford)

  • This project provides a sustainable path to community gardens for immigrant and food insecure populations. It builds on the success of the Highland Park Community Garden (HPCG), established in April 2023 through partnerships with the city of Waterloo, University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education (UNI CEEE), Highland Neighborhood Association, and immigrant communities from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Guatemala, Liberia, and Myanmar.

Grout Museum, Sensory-Friendly and Special Needs Programming ($5,000)

  • Fulfilling a goal to make programming more accessible and inclusive, the Grout Museum District staff will launch Museum School experiences and sensory-friendly monthly events for guests with disabilities and their family members. This new program will accommodate clients of all ages from several area organizations – such as River Hills, North Star Community Services, Exceptional Persons, Inc.

Hospitality House, Bathroom Renovation ($5,000)

  • This project entails remodeling the existing bathroom at Hospitality House, which provides services for people experiencing homelessness in our community. The current bathtub will be removed, and a shower stall will be added, providing more accessibility and a more sanitary and cleaner environment.

I Believe Leadership and Sports Academy, Empowering Men Summit ($5,000, partially funded by Dr. Lance and Ellen Vanderloo Fund)

  • The Empowering Men’s Project builds a positive connection with African American males by offering programming that helps men set life goals, feel valued within the community they live, and provide positive activities and mentoring. Each week teams play structured basketball games and spend time discussing family, friends, and culture, thus reducing racial tensions and promoting positive behavior.

Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center, Fan and Heat Relief Program ($5,000)

  • The Jesse Cosby Operation Fan and Heat Relief program provides fans and heaters for Seniors, Adults with Disabilities and low to moderate income individuals and families during the winter and summer months.

Lutheran Services in Iowa, Black Hawk County Immigrant and Refugee Community Services Expansion ($5,000)

  • LSI is expanding their services and support for refugee populations to Black Hawk County. Their Initial Resettlement and Safe Release Services will provide opportunities and partnerships in the native language of refugee and immigrant families that promote greater economic independence and help them realize their goals and dreams in their new community.

One City United, To Work Program ($10,000)

  • Getting to work consistently and on time daily is essential to removing stress and experiencing a thriving life. A program of One City United, To Work was developed to provide a low-cost shuttle service that people can count on, helping them stay employed and equipped to succeed. It is just one more barrier that we can overcome to bolster our community toward success.

We partnered with Waterloo Youth City Council to select an additional grant recipient serving youth in the community:

Payne Memorial AME Church, The Learn Hub ($5,000)

  • The Learn Hub is a new after-school program that will help to ensure high academic standards for students at partner school, Dr. Walter Cunningham School of Excellence, to pursue and empower themselves to become responsible, active, and interdependent learners through excellence.

The following projects also received partial funding for their projects, made possible by Donor Advised Funds:

Riverview Center, Waterloo Crisis Intervention Program for Vulnerable Communities (Dr. Lance and Ellen Vanderloo Fund)

  • The Crisis Response program provides critically needed assistance for survivors after experiencing the trauma of sexual assault and abuse.

Friends of the Family, Landlord Mitigation (Anonymous Fund)

  • Friends of the Family maintains landlord partners who help provide quick access to permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. Landlord Mitigation and Retention activities help landlords keep units up to standard, which allows more affordable housing options to remain available.

Iowa Legal Aid, Waterloo Employment Barriers and Expungement Clinic (Kathleen and Robert Braun Charitable Fund)

  • Low-income individuals who have been involved in the juvenile or criminal justice systems face a host of lifelong consequences that make it difficult for them to become more self-sufficient. Removing (expunging) eligible records from public search will help these Waterloo residents overcome barriers to employment, housing, and transportation by clearing eligible juvenile and criminal records.

Exceptional Persons, Inc., EPI’s Employment Services (Kathleen and Robert Braun Charitable Fund)

  • EPI supports participants with obtaining and maintaining employment in their community. Within this service, participants are supported in developing skills, such as problem-solving, communication, professional conduct, time management, accessing and understanding transportation options, and job search resources.

A formal awards ceremony will be held at a later date.

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