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Foundation awards $57,000

By Staff | Jun 26, 2008

The Emmet County Community Foundation Wednesday announced $57,041.11 in grant awards to 14 nonprofit groups in the county.

The announcement was made at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Estherville.

Rep. Marcie Frevert noted that Emmet County was one of 85 in the state without a casino. The state offers a portion of its share of gaming proceeds to counties without casinos that have a community foundation.

As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Frevert said she would support an increase in the state tax credit for contributions by individuals to community foundations. Those state tax credits are above and beyond any federal tax deductions.

Frevert also praised Foundation members for their efforts.

“You have included all the communities in the county,” Frevert said.

Carolyn Sween, director of The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, the parent foundation sponsoring Emmet County Community Foundation, also praised local foundation members, saying they “worked tirelessly” in reviewing grant applications.

Sween elaborated on Frevert’s comments, saying the Endow Iowa tax credit allows additional tax credits to those who give to community foundations. Several million dollars have been given over the past two years, Sween said.

Emmet County Community Foundation Chair Sue Nelson reviewed the history of the Emmet County Community Foundation and its accomplishments.

In its first year, 2006, the local foundation received 34 requests for $167,428 and made 23 awards for $46,572 total. In 2007, there were 26 applications for $120,555 and the foundation made 18 awards for $49,354. This year, 25 applicants requested $148,564 and 14 were awarded $57,041.11.

In addition to $153,000 in grants over the last three years, $52,000 in state monies went to the local permanent endowment.

Nelson said the local foundation board of directors does not look at previous grants that were awarded in considering new grants. “These are well-placed grants,” Nelson said of the grants awarded. She noted that any board members who have a conflict of interest with any application under consideration do not take part in the discussion process.

Nelson said an incentive for individuals to contribute to the Emmet County Community Foundation is that they get a regular deduction plus state tax credit. As foundation assets grow, the more grants can be made. By investing locally, said Nelson, “It is going to make a difference.”

Bob Grems, Regional Wellness Center director, said the grant helped provide senior fitness programming and a program for ECHO clients. Grems said with more grant monies received this year, the programs will be expanded.

“We give them what they need by giving them what they want,” Grems said of the senior fitness program. “We appreciate the dollars that we receive from the foundation.”

Nelson thanked everyone for what they do in the community. “What the Community Foundation does makes a difference,” she said.