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Palo Alto County Community Foundation Up And Running

By Staff | Jun 9, 2016

The Palo Alto County Community Foundation is up and running, with four funds established in the past five months.

Information about the Community Foundation was presented at a public meeting the end of May, hosted by members of the foundation board. The goal was to educate the community about the role of the newly established Community Foundation and how it helps create a stronger, more vibrant Palo Alto County for everyone.

The Palo Alto County Community Foundation is a local, nonprofit, charitable affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. It’s local and dedicated to the community where we live.

Iowa law says any county that does not have a state issued gaming license can receive a portion of the gaming revenue each year. Those dollars, however, had to be directed through a community foundation that was accredited or an affiliate of a community foundation that was accredited.

Palo Alto County has a state issued gaming license and is not eligible to receive gaming funds from the state. Communities in Palo Alto County benefit from grants provided through Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation.

“The conversation to get a community foundation started in Palo Alto County started with Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC),” said Jamar Thompson in his presentation. “Don (Miller) and some others had an interest in getting something like this started that would be different than the gaming group.”

He pointed out, “In case PACGDC doesn’t exist at some point down the road, there is some other mechanism here to support the community. People in the county that want to give back to the community have a vehicle to give through to create a legacy for their family.”

PACGDC provided $10,000 to get the Community Foundation up and running, help for operations, and additionally they provided $50,000 in matching funds to be used for organizations or donors or individuals to set up funds through the community foundation.

“That was a way to promote this.” said Thompson, Affiliate Development Director.

“Before year end, before the foundation was even in place, a family donated funds and a fund was set up benefiting the West Bend Historical Society to use for their operations and for support of what they’re doing,” he said. “Then we had another donor who lives out of state with family roots in Palo Alto County, so that individual set up a fund as well.”

The Mark and Carol Schuller Memorial Scholarship Fund allows Palo Alto County Hospital employees to further their education.

“We saw that there is a need here in Palo Alto County to do something like this,” said Thompson.

In the last five months, four funds have been established and there are others that will be approved in the near future.

The four funds are:

– West Bend Historical Society

– Mark and Carol Schuller Memorial Scholarship Fund

– Five Island Trail Fund

– Lynn and Kathy Graff Heritage Fund

“There is a need that people want to do something like this and now there is a vehicle that people can achieve that need,” said Thompson.

The Palo Alto County Community Foundation supports everything through their organization. Any 501C3 that wants to set up a foundation fund can do that through the Palo Alto County Community Foundation.

“We can help them see what their choices are and help make it more attractive to have people donate to the Foundation,” said County Foundation board member Greg Hoyman. “We can help facilitate a foundation fund so people can get a better tax break by giving money through us. We can also take some of the administrative work off a small group that isn’t in a position to get all the paper work done.”

There are numerous types of funds and donors can benefit from the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit.

The Palo Alto County Community Foundation was formed to give charitable, community-minded people who want to do good in their community the opportunity to support the local causes they care about. The Foundation will focus on establishing endowed funds to provide long-term support for nonprofits and community projects.

Donors to the Palo Alto County Community Foundation can benefit from the Endow Iowa state tax credit program. Endow Iowa allows Iowa tax payers to receive a 25% Iowa tax credit, in addition to normal federal deductions, for gifts made to permanent endowment funds that benefit Iowa charitable causes.

The Palo Alto County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA), which reaches a 20 county region across Iowa. CFNEIA has granted over $70 million to organizations across its region over its 60-year history and holds over $85 million in total assets.

Members of the Palo Alto County Community Foundation include J.R. Brown, Rosemary Clouse, Gene Englin, Stacy Gappa, Kathy Gunderson, Greg Hoyman, Anne Marie Nelson, and Don Miller, chairman.

For more information about the Palo Alto County Community Foundation including how to donate, the various types of funds, and the Endow Iowa 25% state tax credit, please visit www.paloaltoccf.org or contact Jamar Thompson, affiliate development director for CFNEIA at 319-287-9106 extension 14 or jthompson@cfneia.org.