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Riverboat Foundation Approves Grant Application

Mary Zielinski

Washington Evening Journal

June 28, 2006

Board member Larry Marek raised the issue about the Earthpark project announcing publicly that the Foundation could provide $8 [million] to it over 10 years, "but they have not come to the Foundation."
[Note: This material is copyright by the Washington Evening Journal and Golden Triangle Newspapers, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of Golden Triangle Newspapers.]

      Copies of the official, approved application form to request funds from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation will be available by July 1.
      The forms may be obtained at the county courthouse, local city halls, as well as the office of the Foundation's attorney Doug Tindal, 395 W Main Street, Washington and the office of Foundation Chairman Tim Putney, Peoples Trust and Savings Bank, Riverside. Until the Foundation has an actual office, calls for information may be made to Tindal's' office at 319-653-5434.
      The timeline for applying and for grant awards remains the same as announced in May: September 1 for a letter of intent and October 1 for the completed application with announcement of successful applicants December 15.
      A completion application is the only means for applicants to be considered for grants from the estimated $3.2 million the non-profit Foundation will have to distribute, board members agreed Wednesday.
That would include the local school districts that Wednesday formally asked the board to consider a straight 15 percent annual allocation for the districts. It would amount to about $480,000.
      The districts are Highland, Mid-Prairie, Washington, Keota and Winfield-Mt. Union. The latter two are not in the county but have students from it.
Highland Superintendent Carol Montz, who presented the request, noted it would amount to approximately $121 per pupil for each student living in Washington County.
      Montz also noted that the Foundation already will give 25 percent to the municipalities in the county, and asked for equal consideration for the school districts.
      However, board member Ed Raber noted that the "municipal fund" is a separate matter from the grant process.
      Actually, the Foundation, which at the time was a Commission, voted to provide funding to all the county's cities shortly before the countywide vote on the gambling referendum in August, 2004.
      As a result, the districts request has to be e treated like any other applicant, noted Foundation member Ted Drain.
      Drain also voiced concern about a request from Steve Olson to return to the Foundation with an eight-minute Power Point presentation about the newly formed Community Foundation of Washington County.
      Drain said that that would mean any group could come with a presentation, and that was not how the application process was to proceed.
      Olson explained briefly that the Foundation was formed primarily to seek funds from the $2 million Endow Iowa fund. Olson said that Endow Iowa will help with local philanthropic efforts. He added that the Washington County group may be the first for a rural county, that much of the previous funding went to urban areas.
      Other board members expressed concerns about the school district request, that the Foundation grant guidelines was not to provide regular funds for those with other sources. There also was a question about how Foundation funds would be used.
      Montz had said that any Foundation funds would be used specifically on technology and books. The state has substantially cut funding for the former, she added.
      That led to members noting that there would have to be an accounting report from any receiving foundation funds, including the municipalities.
"We would want a review of how the cities use the money," said Raber.
      It was then noted that back in 2004 it was said the allocations would go to the cities' general funds, to finance whatever the city needed or wanted.
      James Miksch, candidate for county supervisor, asked if the county could apply. Raber said that the county is already due to receive funds from the casino in state-mandated legislation.
      But Miksch suggested that the county should be as eligible as the other entities when it came to applying for grants.
      Board member Larry Marek raised the issue about the Earthpark project announcing publicly that the Foundation could provide $8 to it over 10 years, "but they have not come to the Foundation."
      Raber said that public announcement was that the Foundation "was only a possibility."
      Marek replied that that would be one-quarter of the Foundation's estimated $3.2 million going to one project.