One Year Later: Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund provided a 'lifeline for local arts and culture nonprofits'
Nicole Lindquist | Iowa West Foundation
March 28, 2021
From shutdowns to sanitizing to social distancing, pandemic protocol has forced local arts and culture nonprofits that rely on visitors to repeatedly adjust and adapt over the past year.
Even though their buildings were often closed down, expenses didn’t stop piling up. Therefore, the nonprofit continuity of operations funding received through a collaboration between Iowa West Foundation and the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation has allowed their doors to stay open, and just in time for tourism season.
“We were thrilled to receive the financial support as we were basically closed all last year and had no income,” said Gayle Strickland of the Oakland Historical Society, which received $2,000 in operating funding for the Nishna Heritage Museum.
In a typical year, the museum welcomes approximately 1,000 visitors travelling along Highway 59 to see the 100 foot mural or get a glimpse of life in the early 20th century. In 2020, the number of guests and free will donations was practically nonexistent.
Council Bluffs’ Historic General Dodge House shares a similar story of struggle, but was able to maintain operations with the help of the Foundations’ funding.
“We are so thankful to be a part of a generous and supportive community,” said Tom Emmett, executive director of the Dodge House, which received $6,000. “We appreciate the generosity of Pottawattamie County Community Foundation and the Iowa West Foundation.”
Leaders from both museums as well as those of other cultural amenities in the region look forward to this summer, and are eager to provide fulfilling experiences for their patrons again.
“The arts are so much more than bricks and mortar in our community; they are invaluable when it comes to quality of life,” said Brenda Mainwaring, president and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “This funding has done exactly what it was designed to do: support nonprofits during their most critical time of need.”
In addition to continuity of operations, the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund also supports emergency assistance to vulnerable populations and expanded infrastructure for public health.
“Ensuring the organizations that make up the fiber of our communities are strong and able to deliver on their intended mission is essential to the purpose of the COVID-19 Response initiative,” said Donna Dostal, president and CEO of Pottawattamie County Community Foundation. “As we work our way through this extremely difficult time in our region, the generosity of businesses, foundations, and individuals who are committed to the strength and resilience of our communities certainly is shining through and building on the hope of recovery from the devastating effects of this pandemic.
“The culture of philanthropy and generosity runs strong in Southwest Iowa and our board and staff are honored to help as we rebound as a community.”
Individuals, families, corporations, and others who would like to donate to the Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Response Fund are encouraged to visit ourpccf.org or call 712-256-7007.
The fund also continues to accept applications on a rolling basis. The universal application for relief funding can be found at both iowawestfoundation.org and ourpccf.org.