Community Foundation of Johnson County awards local non-profits

The Community Foundation of Johnson County awarded more than $252,000 in grants to 72 local non-profits for the 2016-17 year. The awardees were announced on Oct. 19 at the annual Community Foundation’s Grant Award Luncheon.

Local non-profits are able to submit proposals which explain the specific programs for which they are seeking funding. The foundation received 101 grant requests for more than $826,000 to fund programs and projects, foundation President Sarah Maiers said in a press release.

The awards are pulled from the newly-renamed grant endowment fund Growing Better Together. The new name conveys the main focus of the foundation, Executive Director Mike Stoffregen said: “Together we are giving for good.”

Some of the beneficiaries include United Action for Youth, Bur Oak Land Trust, Crisis Center of Johnson County and Shelter House.

UAY Youth Center is located on Iowa and Gilbert. -- photo by Kelli Ebensberger
UAY Youth Center is located on Iowa Ave. and Gilbert St.. — photo by Kelli Ebensberger
United Action for Youth

United Action for Youth (UAY) received funds for Girls in Real Life and Autism Group. UAY’s Development Director Mickey Hampton and Business Director Genevieve Anglin said these grants will provide a starting foundation for the two programs.

Girls in Real Life has been a UAY program for the past 16 years (under various names) and provides social and consciousness support for young women for the community. $1,100 is being put toward a short film that will provide a platform for young women to find their voice and speak organically on issues that are important to them. Hampton said the remaining costs of production will be raised through a crowdfunding campaign. The film is set to be shown at FilmScene in the summer of 2017.

The Autism Group has a similar mission: to give individuals on the autism spectrum a place to talk about their struggles but also build a constructive social network. By being strength-based rather than focusing on any deficits, they are able to gain a sense of empowerment and camaraderie with their peers, Hampton said.

Bur Oak Land Trust

The Campaign to Save the Grove: Protecting, Conserving and Stewarding Iowa’s Natural Land, a program through the Bur Oak Land Trust, was also selected as an awardee.

Executive Director Tammy Wright said this $700,000 capital campaign involves buying land and then maintenance and stewardship of it. The money from the community foundation will go towards purchasing a 40-acre parcel adjoining the current conservation land. From there, the campaign will raise money to bring in conservation corps, such as Americorps, to clear invasive species and restore native habitats. The grove will support local insect and animal habitats, rebuild local ecosystems and be open to public use for hiking, picnics and cross-country skiing.

The Crisis Center of Johnson County

The Crisis Center of Johnson County will continue expanding the Mobile Crisis Outreach Follow-up Counselor program. The crisis center provides resources to community members struggling with various issues including lack of food, financial emergency, divorce, serious illness, roommate trouble, school-related stress, substance abuse struggles and suicidal feelings.

The Mobile Crisis Outreach Program provides 24/7 mobile assistance for people experiencing distress regarding their mental health. The follow-up service aspect of the outreach program, which is the focus of the grant, is comprised of two newly full-time staff members: Coordinator Timothy Kelly and Counselor Rochelle Honey-Arcement.

After a client’s initial call, these counselors correspond with them within 24 hours to make sure they’re in contact with long-term resources and receiving the support they need. In some cases, counselors will take clients to their appointments, or visit the client’s home to make sure they’re taking steps toward stability.

The crisis center’s Communications & Development Director Sara Sedlacek said that following the Victim of Crimes Act grant in the summer of 2016, the crisis center was able to begin the full-time positions and increase their services. For example, Sedlacek said that in October 2015 they responded to 14 mobile crisis calls; this October, they’ve responded to 52. She said this increase is due in various parts to increased law enforcement training, which has led to more referrals to the crisis center, and increased awareness of their services in the community.

“The Mobile Crisis Follow-up Counselors are amazing; they really go above and beyond for each call,” she said.

Shelter House

Shelter House received funding for three programs: Emergency Shelter and Rapid Rehousing Services, the Fairweather Lodge and low barrier Winter Shelter.

The 45-day Emergency Shelter service and Rapid Rehousing Services are “designed to shorten the period of time that people experience homelessness in Johnson County and to increase housing placement and retention,” according to the Shelter House website. Shelter House focuses on securing permanent housing and then providing access to case managers for the six months following the initial service.

Shelter House’s Mental Health Services page states that the Fairweather Lodge “is a recovery program for people with mental illness who are seeking community, peer support, long-term stable housing, supported employment, and mental health stability.”

The low barrier Winter Shelter is intended for the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness during the harsh winter months. With this grant money, in addition to funds from private and public donors, the Shelter House has been able to lease the former TMOne building (1925 Boyrum St.), across the street from the current shelter (429 Southgate Ave.) in order to accommodate more patrons.

See the full list of awardees below:

Arts / Culture / Humanities
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts — Children’s Art Programming
Disability Enterprise Foundation — Arts and Crafts Supply Bank
ICCSD Foundation — Symphony Goes to School
ICCSD Foundation — 8th Grade Hancher Theater Experience
Iowa City Community Theatre — Venue Restroom Renovations
Iowa City Public Library — Magic School Bus at STEAM Festival
Old Brick Episcopal Corporation — Preservation Master Plan
Riverside Theatre — Radical Hospitality
United Action for Youth — Girls in Real Life
University of Iowa Foundation — The Community Stories Workshop at the VA
University of Iowa Museum of Art — UIMA Senior Living Communities

4Cs Community Coordinated Child Care — Learning Starts at Birth
Friends of Historic Preservation — Houser-Metzer Education Series
Friendship Community Project — Friendship Community Project
Grow: Johnson County — “Let’s Grow” Educational Program
I CAN READ — Kindergarten Kickstart with I can Read Songs
Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature — One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival
Iowa College Access Network — Future Ready Iowa — JC Curriculum Project
Iowa Jobs for American’s Graduate — iJAG: Unlocking Student Potential
Iowa Youth Writing Project — Play with Your Words!
JC Historical Society — Little School on the Prairie and Flowers, Fossils, Birds and Beyond
KCC Foundation — Flavors from Home
The Iowa Children’s Museum — Play to Read!
UWJ&WC — Literacy Kits for Early Literacy
UI Foundation — Strengthening Teacher Family Connection in High Needs Elementary School
West Branch Public Library — Youth STEM Programming

Environment / Animals
Backyard Abundance — Neighborhood Monarch and Food Gardens
Bur Oak Land Trust — The Campaign to Save the Grove: Protecting, Conserving and Stewarding Iowa’s Natural Land
Cedar Valley Humane Society — Pets for Life
Edible Outdoors / Backyard Abundance — Edible Outdoors
Friends of the Animal Center Foundation — Humane Education
University Heights — Banner Replacement

Health / Human Services
Alzheimer’s Association, East Central Iowa — 2017 Walk, Caregiver Café
Best Buddies Iowa — Best Buddies Iowa
Coralville Ecumenical Food Pantry — School Break Nutrition Program
DVIP — Safety and Dignity for Adult and Victims of Domestic Violence
Elder Services, Inc. — Senior Meals
Elder Services, Inc. — Medical Transportation
Farm to School, ICCSD Chapter — Farm to School Mobile Farm Stand Increasing access to healthy fresh foods to those most in need
Four Oaks Family & Children’s Services — Pursuing Adventures in Learning (PAL)
Free Lunch Program — Free Lunch Meals
Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois — Outreach Initiative Leadership and Character Building for At-Risk Girls
Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa — Support for Girls in North Liberty and Coralville
Healthy Kids Based Health Clinics — Healthy Kids Medicine Cabinet
Hospice Home of JC — Hospice Home Fund for Providing Free Care for Low Income Residents of Johnson County
Inside Out Reentry Community — Reentry Services
Iowa City Free Medical Clinic — Free Dental Clinic Operating Support
Iowa City Free Medical Clinic — Free Clinic Dispensary and Voucher Support
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity — Pat Heiden Women Build
JC Visiting Nurse Association — Education Resource Update
Kids First Law Center — Child Advocates in High Conflict Divorce and Custody Cases
National Alliance on Mental Illness in JC — Peer Support Specialist for R Place
National Alliance on Mental Illness JC — Partnering with the Community for Mental Illness Awareness
North Liberty Community Pantry — Pantry Food Inventory
North Liberty Community Pantry — Growing Together Garden
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. — Prevention Services
Shelter House — Fairweather Lodge
Shelter House — Low Barrier Winter Shelter
Shelter House — Emergency Shelter and Rapid Rehousing Services
System Unlimited, Inc. — Mental Health Service in JC
Table to Table — Ongoing Food Rescue Program
The Arc of Southeast Iowa — Daycare / Preschool Addition
The Crisis Center of Johnson County — Mobile Crisis Outreach Program Follow-Up Counselor
The Dream Center — I-Belong Youth Leadership Program
United Action for Youth — Autism Group

Public / Societal Benefit
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County — Kappa Kids and BBBS Mentoring
I.C. Bruisers Junior Roller Derby League — New Safety Gear
Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism — IowaWatch Journalism Project
Iowa City Downtown District — Washington Street Lighting Project
Swisher American Legion Post 671 — Carpet Replacement
Transformative Healing — Operational Support & Capacity Building
Veterans Memorial of Coralville — Veterans Memorial Project

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