The West Bancorporation Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) was founded in 2004 to grant funds to nonprofit organizations in the communities we serve in the areas of Human Services, Education and Arts & Culture. Our giving priority is to support programs whose primary purpose is to benefit low- and moderate – income individuals.
In the 15 years of its existence, our annual Foundation grants have increased from less than $200,000 annually to over $300,000 that was granted in 2019. Part of that growth has been made possible by our own West Bank employees, who have the opportunity to donate directly to our Foundation through payroll deduction. The increased pool of funds has enabled the Foundation to begin accepting grant applications from communities in West Bank’s new market areas as we continue to award funds to nonprofits in the Des Moines, Coralville, and Rochester communities.
As our Foundation has grown, it must be recognized that critical needs have grown as well, as the private sector in general and West Bank in particular have been called upon to bridge the gap between public funding of human service needs and the growing demands of those at risk in the areas of housing and food security.
“It is sometimes difficult to strike the right balance between funding basic needs and funding those who enhance our daily lives and the well-being of our communities by providing cultural opportunities for families and individuals who live there,” said Jill Thompson Hansen, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are cognizant that without the support of the private sector it would be impossible for the arts to be accessible to anyone other than the economically advantaged, and our communities would be negatively impacted as a result. We often remark while reviewing grant applications that ‘every cause is a worthy cause,’ even if in a particular year or quarter the Board feels compelled to concentrate its funding in a particular area.”
One example of that can be seen in the Foundation’s 2019 giving year, when nearly 70% of funding went to nonprofits in the human services area, including food pantries and backpack food distribution through the schools, programs for at-risk youth, and homeless outreach.
“We expect that trend to continue as unemployment and disruption caused by COVID-19 causes even more desperation for the necessities of life among affected individuals and families,” said Hansen. “For example, our most recent round of grants, representing applications filed in the first quarter of 2020, all but one were awarded to human services organizations, including those offering child care, mental health services, and engagement with at-risk youth, and more than 25% of the funding ($11,000) was awarded directly to food networks. These applications reflect only the very early stages of the pandemic so we are certain more are coming.”
Please click here if your organization falls into one of the categories above and would like to apply for a grant.
GRANT CYCLE DEADLINES: Applications close on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1.
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