Wes Ehrecke recently gave a report on the effort to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Ehrecke says the gaming revenue is allocated to the qualified community foundation in each of the counties that doesn’t have a casino. “This past year it was 133-thousand dollars of which 25 percent must remain in a permanent endowment and the rest goes out in grants,” Ehrecke says. Ehrecke says the grants handed out last year by the County Endowment Fund Program expanded on the impact of the money put into the foundations.
“The total was 2,139 grants in the noncasino counties for a total of about $8.4 million. And then you combine that with what the casino counties do of approximately 80 million dollars — so, that’s a very significant philanthropic commitment to this state,” Ehrecke says. The program had more than 2,900 requests for grants last year.
He says the gambling revenue given to the foundation serves as seed money to build the county foundation’s funding and encourage other donations. Those who donate to the foundations are eligible for a tax credit. “Besides what we provide with that Endow Iowa Program tax credits, people are encouraged to try leave legacy type grants for other significant things. And that’s starting to take off in many of these areas as well,” Ehrecke says.
Each of the 84 counties develops its own grant process to distribute the 75 percent of the funding that is not kept in the permanent endowment. You can find out more about the program online at : www.iowacommunityfoundations.org.