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CFNEIA awards $410,000 in grants at Celebration of Community event

November 7, 2023

Over 200 people attended the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa’s (CFNEIA) Celebration of Community event on Friday, November 3, at the Diamond Event Center in Cedar Falls. The organization announced $410,000 in grants to four organizations including The Salvation Army of Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Cedar Falls Community School District, Refugee and Immigrant Youth Organization (RIYO) and Sunflower Child Development and Discovery Center.

“This event is a celebration of what happens when people work together to make our communities vibrant places,” said Kaye Englin, CFNEIA president and CEO. “The Community Foundation is only able to impact communities because of the generosity and partnerships of people and organizations who believe in creating opportunities for everyone to thrive by working together in incredible ways.”  

The Salvation Army of Waterloo/Cedar Falls received a $240,000 grant toward its recently announced capital campaign to renovate and expand its kitchen facilities. The $600,000 project will expand the kitchen space and include the installation of updated equipment. The current kitchen has been in use since 1992 and approximately 1.5 million meals have been served in that time. The campaign is essential to meeting the organization’s current needs and will allow for increasing community needs and any potential future expansion of services. 

“The support of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa and their desire to get behind this project at a time when it really needs to happen has been the catalyst for moving it forward,” said Grace Fee, social ministries director with The Salvation Army of Waterloo/Cedar Falls. “Feeling that love and having our meal program truly seen for what it does and how it impacts the community is very validating and we are incredibly appreciative of it.”

The Cedar Falls Community School District received a $100,000 grant to its Cedar Falls Community Natatorium campaign. The collaborative project between the Cedar Falls Community School District, the City of Cedar Falls, as well as the recreational and competitive swim community represented by an organization known as “Jump In” will bring a new aquatics center, including a deep water competitive pool and a teaching pool, to Cedar Falls for both school and community use.

RIYO received a $20,000 equity grant to help build capacity for the grassroots, youth driven organization focused expanding possibilities for refugee and immigrant youth in Waterloo. The organization impacts refugee and immigrant youth and their families through initiatives that address the unique challenges faced by the community’s growing refugee and immigrant population.

CFNEIA also awarded a $50,000 grant to the Sunflower Child Development and Discovery Center. This Decorah-based child care organization is working to address the child care crisis in Winneshiek County through the building of a state-of-the-art child development center for 214 children with room to expand to 308. The $9 million project also includes a Discovery Center, which will provide interactive exhibits open to the public – creating a unique revenue stream for sustainability. 

“These organizations are leaders in impacting our communities and the people they serve and we are honored to be part of their work,” said Englin. “We are grateful to be a local funder and to have the ability to make this kind of positive change. The grants awarded our celebration are one way we carry out our commitment to enrich communities.” 

Since 1956, CFNEIA has granted over $122 million to organizations across its 20-county region and holds assets totaling over $155 million. 

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