Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two Lyon County entities have received funding from a foundation that some assumed had ceased to exist.
The Community Foundation of Lyon County was formally established in 2005 through affiliation with the Siouxland Community Foundation. Until Grand Falls Casino was opened in 2011, funding for the grant program was a result of County Endowment Fund legislation passed in 2005 which provides that a percentage of the state’s gambling revenues is to be distributed among all Iowa counties that do not have a gambling entity. But after the casino opened, the foundation no longer received state funds. However, the casino’s nonprofit license-holder, the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation does distribute a portion of funds the casino takes in.
Lyon County Economic Development Director Steve Simons says that despite the lack of state funds coming in to the Community Foundation of Lyon County, the foundation continues to operate and accept donations and endowments from private individuals. He says while both foundations’ goals are helping Lyon County, the Riverboat Foundation is tasked with giving away all the money that they get, while the Community Foundation’s goal is to keep some of the funds they receive from donors and give away some, in a manner similar to a revolving fund.
He says that the Community Foundation of Lyon County has given away its first two grants since the opening of the casino. They went to the Rock Rapids Kids Club and Rapids Theatre Preservation Society. Kids Club received $13,000 toward their new daycare facility construction and the Theatre Preservation Society received $9,000 toward work on the exterior of the historic building in downtown Rock Rapids.