Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Community Foundation of Lyon County has been in place for several years, giving their first grants to nonprofit projects in 2006. However, one of the revenue streams for the foundation was ended when a gambling facility began in the county seven years ago in June of 2011.

Iowa counties’ community foundations are given some money if they do not have a casino or betting track in the county. The law stipulates that such counties are eligible to receive one-half of one percent of the state’s gross gambling receipts.

If the county DOES have a gambling facility, the community foundation does not receive those state dollars. However, the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation, which is the nonprofit license-holder for the Grand Falls Casino, gets a certain percentage of the casino’s gaming take and gives it back to the community in a similar grant process.

So the Community Foundation of Lyon County doesn’t get any gambling money, but private donations to the foundations are also accepted and encouraged, and that is how the Community Foundation is able to give out grants. In fact, they recently awarded six grants totaling $24,000 to nonprofit organizations in support of projects and programs throughout Lyon County. The dollars granted and distributed are made possible by the annual distribution from the Community Foundation of Lyon County’s Endowment Fund.

The CFLC was formally established in 2005 through affiliation with the Siouxland Community Foundation and is governed by a local nine-member advisory board composed of representatives, with one at-large member, from each of the eight communities in Lyon County; Alvord, Doon, George, Inwood, Larchwood, Lester, Little Rock, and Rock Rapids.

Foundation officials tell us that their mission is to enhance the overall quality of life in the county for present and future generations by providing opportunities for donors to leave a legacy, by building a permanent collection of endowment funds, and by making grants in response to priority community needs. They also tell us that a decision has been made that they will give grants every two years instead of annually so that larger sums may be given out.

The following are recently awarded grants from the CFLC:

Fellowship Village Community Integration $6,000.00
Granite Threshermens Association Inc. Train Depot Restoration $6,000.00
Inwood Trails Committee Bike and Walking Trail $6,000.00
Kingdom Kids Community Daycare Update Needed Storage $1,000.00
Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital New clinic & hospital $2,000.00
Rapids Theatre Preservation Society, Inc. North and West Tuck Pointing $3,000.00

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