CFNEIA Announces $138,500 in Grants at Celebration of Community

November 3, 2018

Nearly 400 people attended the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa’s annual Celebration of Community event on Friday, November 2 at the Diamond Event Center in Cedar Falls where the Foundation announced six grants totaling $138,500.

“In the Cedar Valley, and across our 20-county region, CFNEIA is partnering with thousands of people to make where we live stronger for everyone,” said Kaye Englin, CFNEIA president and CEO. “The grants made tonight will have a significant impact on the nonprofits and the people they serve. We are extremely grateful for people whose generosity allows us to grant nearly $5 million every year to projects like these that create life-changing results.” 

Special mission fulfillment grants were awarded to EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center), Exceptional Persons Inc. (EPI), Cedar Valley Arts, and Safe Kids Cedar Valley Coalition. These four grants totaling $118,500 aligned with the CFNEIA’s recently announced community initiatives of child care, workforce readiness, art and culture, and nonprofit capacity building.

EMBARC received an $80,000 CFNEIA grant for a two-phase project. Phase one will be an assessment in collaboration with Iowa State University to evaluate the barriers and opportunities for child care and workforce training for former refugees in Black Hawk County. The second phase will be the creation of a walk-in social service clinic and a work ready “navigators” model to create liaison positions to help former refugees and employers navigate the hiring process and make the workplace more welcoming. 

“We are incredibly excited and grateful for the grants to these projects,” said Henny Ohr, EMBARC executive director. “CFNEIA has been in our corner from the beginning here in Waterloo, helping us establish services for this important population in the Cedar Valley. Now they are helping us launch two new and innovative programs that will benefit former refugees working to create a life in Iowa and the community as a whole.”

Cedar Valley Arts, a collaborative effort of arts organizations and funders in the region, received a $25,000 grant to continue its work to strengthen the local arts scene and make communities better places through the arts. The grant will be used to establish a comprehensive brand and online presence for the organization that will help them move into the next phase of the group’s development. 

EPI received a $10,000 grant to implement a new child care program. EPI, in partnership with Hawkeye Community College, is creating an innovative solution to the critical need for child care in Black Hawk County. The nonprofits came together to identify their needs around child care and decided to partner to operate a new child care center. The new child care center will be located at Hawkeye's Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center in downtown Waterloo. The facility, which is slated to open in January 2019, will serve 65 children and employee 15 staff.

Another grant was awarded to Safe Kids Cedar Valley Coalition, a partnership of many Cedar Valley nonprofits working toward injury preventions, for a new lawn mower safety campaign. This campaign would be the first of its kind in the United States and has been inspired by the Ryan and Fonda Manahl family of Cedar Falls. The family have been advocates since a tragic accident seriously injured their son, Tate, in 2017. Safe Kids is partnering with the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to create a comprehensive awareness campaign promoting lawn mower safety. The $3,500 grant will assist in creation of collateral materials and marketing. 

CFNEIA’s Women’s Fund grants were also announced at the event. Women’s Fund grants are selected by CFNEIA’s Women for Good group consisting of women who want to empower and improve the lives of women and girls in Black Hawk County. EMBARC received a $10,000 Women’s Fund grant for their parent navigators program which positions peer trainers in the former refugee community to help women and their children navigate parenting in a new county and culture. House of Hope also received a $10,000 Women’s Fund grant for its new Pillars program for young women aging out of the foster care system and transitioning into adult life without supports. 

Celebration of Community is an annual event of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. CFNEIA was established in 1956 and has since grown to serve 20 Iowa counties, partnering with 24 affiliate county and community foundations to create local impacts. Since 1956, CFNEIA has distributed nearly $90 million in grants to nonprofits and now holds $112 million in assets to support causes in communities across its region forever. CFNEIA is a nationally accredited community foundation and employs 12 staff to help people support the causes they care about and collaborate with nonprofits to enrich communities in its region.

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