Dallas County Foundation holds annual awards banquet, grants $88K

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Among her many volunteer activities today, Linda Nelson, fifth from right, is secretary of the board of the Dallas County Foundation. The foundation recently hosted its 10th annual awards banquet at the Hotel Pattee in Perry.


The Dallas County Foundation (DCF) hosted its annual awards banquet Tuesday night at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, giving more than $88,000 to 20 civic, charitable, cultural, artistic and recreational organizations in Dallas County.

DCF President Susan Brelsford praised the foundation for its 10 years of successful granting.
DCF President Susan Brelsford praised the foundation for its 10 years of successful granting.

Susan Brelsford of Perry, president of the Dallas County Foundation, praised the board for its 10 years of successfully supporting worthy causes in Dallas County.

“Thanks to all our generous private donors and to everyone who participated in this year’s grant cycle,” Brelsford said. The non-profit DCF was formed in 2005 in order to distribute the county’s share of state gambling revenues.

“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.

Current members of the DCF Board of Directors are Brelsford, Vice President Cheryl Semerad, Secretary Linda Nelson, Treasurer Tim Canney, Immediate Past President Marty Glanz, directors D. Paul Bissinger, Cathy Erickson, Vicki Lage, Margaret Morrison, John Mortimer, Jim Riordan, Bill Siglin, Dan Spellman, Alice Wicker and Cirksena.

Since 2006 the DCF, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, has granted more than $800,000 for 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 2014 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 19 casinos, three racetracks and three Native American Indian casinos. The Iowa gaming industry as a whole generates about $1.5 billion in revenues annually. Between three and five 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.

The total distribution for 2015 was $88,374.25, down from about $97,000 distributed in 2014. The 2015 grant winners and the values and purposes of their grants included:

1. Adel-DeSoto-Minburn Soccer Club in Adel, $4,070, for eight goals,

2. Adel Parks and Recreation in Adel, $6,000, for a community archery center,

3. Brenton Arboretum, Dallas Center, $2,500, for a people transporter,

4. Dallas County Conservation Board, $20,000, toward the High Trestle Trail-Raccoon River Valley Trail connector,

5. DeSoto Fire and Rescue, DeSoto, $3,200, for new air packs and air bottles,

6. DeSoto Public Library, DeSoto, $844.63, for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming materials,

7. Friends of the Granger Public Library, Granger, $820, for a furniture update,

8. Minburn Community Betterment Committee, Minburn, $3,523.47, for a security system for renovated Minburn Depot,

9. Minburn Firefighters, Minburn, $6,400, for new personal protective gear,

10. Perry-Area Swim Team, Perry, $350, for a timing system for swim meets,

11. Art on the Prairie, Perry, $565, for portable audio system,

12. Perry Community School District, $2,000, for a poppy art project,

13. Perry Community School District, $2,500, for fitness equipment,

14. Perry Community School District, $2,850, for a music storage system,

15. Waukee Trailhead public art, Waukee, $15,000, for the installation of public art at Waukee Trailhead,

16. City of West Des Moines, West Des Moines, $5,000, for a pedestrian crossing signal at 65th Street and Ashworth Road,

17. West Des Moines Police Department, West Des Moines, $1,000, for training equipment for rape aggression and defense systems,

18. Woodward-Granger Elementary School, Granger, $4,250, for Chromebooks for library,

19. Woodward Public Library, Woodward, $1,405, for five computer tablets,

20. Dallas County Foundation, West Des Moines, $6,096.15, for marketing and administrative.

For more information on the DCF, contact Cirkensa at 515-556-4326 or scirksena@outlook.com. For a grant application, contact the Dallas County Foundation, P.O. Box # 46, Adel, IA 50003, or call Cheryl Semerad, cherylsemerad@gmail.com. Information on the 2016 application process will be available in January.

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