Dallas County Foundation doles out $111K in 2016 grants

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The Dallas County Foundation made a $20,000 grant to the Dallas County Conservation Board toward connecting the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail.

The Dallas County Foundation (DCF) recently announced its 2016 grant recipients, with 21 grantees garnering more than $111,000.

The non-profit DCF, formed in 2005 to distribute Dallas County’s share of state gambling taxes, funds a variety of charitable, civic and cultural organizations across Dallas County.

“The Dallas County Foundation is a charitable foundation created by and for local citizens to improve the quality of life right here in our communities,” said Scott C. Cirksena, DCF development director.

Since 2006 the DCF, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, has granted more than $832,000 to some 160 projects that benefit Dallas County communities.

“We are here to help donors make a positive, local impact by offering a variety of giving tools to help people achieve their charitable giving goals and do good work in our communities that lasts forever,” Cirksena said.

Gambling laws passed by the Iowa General Assembly in 2004 included several provisions intended to steer gambling taxes toward charitable purposes. One provision required a portion of Iowa’s gaming tax revenues—eight-tenths of one percent—be distributed among the 84 Iowa counties without casinos.

A County Endowment Fund was created within the Iowa Department of Revenue to collect and distribute the tax money to the non-casino counties. About $8 million in gaming taxes were distributed to counties in 2015 through the endowment fund.

County-level foundations such as the DCF were in turn created to receive the state Endowment Fund monies and distribute them down to local civic and charitable organizations in the form of grants.

Iowa currently has 22 casinos, five racetracks and three Native American Indian casinos. The Iowa gaming industry as a whole generates about $1.5 billion in revenues annually. Between 3 percent and 5 percent of these earnings trickle down through the county-level foundations to local charities and public-service organizations.

Along with gaming revenues, the DCF is also partially supported by private donations.

A fresh source of gambling revenues entered the funding stream this year with the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson swelling the flow. An agreement between Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation (GGCGC) and Wild Rose Entertainment calls for 5 percent of the casino’s annual gross receipts to go toward charitable purposes, a more generous cut than the 3 percent required by Iowa gambling laws.

The agreement between GGCGC and Wild Rose increases this portion to 5 percent. Eighty percent of the 5 percent — that is, 4 percent of gross receipts — stay in Greene County, and the remaining 1 percent is divided among Greene’s six neighboring counties.

This year’s GGCGC contribution to the DCF total was $18,200. The DCF granted the Wild Rose dollars the to Dallas Center Parks and Recreation Board to help build restrooms along the Raccoon River Valley Bike Trail.

Other worthy recipients in the 2016 DCF granting cycle included:

1. ADM Fine Arts Boosters of Adel: $5,000 for choir robes and professional attire

2. ADM Ag Science Education Department: $949 for six  microscopes

3. Adel Public Library: $2,580 for an Early Literacy Station

4. HomeCare Services Inc. of Dallas County: $8,000 for an ADA vehicle/bus

5. Clive Parks and Recreation: $8,000 for pickleball courts in Wildwood Park

6. Dallas Center Parks and Recreation: $18,200 for ADA restrooms by bike trail

7. The Brenton Arboretum: $1,673 for program equipment

8. De Soto Police Department: $8,027 for a speed trailer to alert speeding drivers

9. De Soto Public Works Department: $1,338 for food stand equipment at the ball park

10. AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport Inc.: $1,500 for LCD projector and sound system

11. Dallas County Habitat for Humanity: $4,500 for repairs to three homes in Dallas Center and Redfield

12. Dexter Community House: $4,000 for an historical marker at the Roundhouse

13. Hawks Dugout Club: $4,000 for bleachers and a press box

14. Granger Parks and Recreation Department: $2,000 for foul poles and a batting cage for the little league field

15. Dallas County Conservation Board: $20,000 toward connecting the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail

16. Perry Community Schools: $2,000 for flooring in the fitness room

17. City of Perry: $5,000 for benches in the downtown

18. Perry Public Library: $3,000 for LED fixtures and lights

19. Art on the Prairie: $1,000 for a multi-function printer

20. City of Urbandale, Parks and Recreation Department: $4,000 for educational prairie and natural areas in Walnut Creek Regional Park

21. Dallas County Foundation: $6,318 for marketing and administration

2016 Total Distribution: $111,085

A listing of projects funded from 2006 to 2015 can be viewed at the Dallas County Foundation website. Application deadlines for the next grant cycle will be announced in December. For more information, contact Vicki Lage at vickilage@gmail.com. DCF is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

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