Community Foundation awards $111,000 in grants Tuesday night

T-R PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY Students from West Marshall’s Leaders Uplifting Our Community with Charity (LUCC), Marshalltown’s Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) and East Marshall’s Students Empowering and Leading (SEAL) pose for a group photo after Tuesday night’s Community Foundation of Marshall County grant award ceremony at the Marshalltown Arts and Civic Center on Tuesday night.

The atmosphere was joyous at the Marshalltown Arts and Civic Center (MACC) on Tuesday night as the the Community Foundation of Marshall County (CFMC) held its annual grant award ceremony and disbursed a total of 33 grants totaling $111,000 to 20 different local organizations.

The funding for the grants is generated through revenues from Iowa’s casinos, and as CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins noted when she took the podium, those dollars could potentially increase as the state has recently legalized sports betting. After light appetizers and drinks were served to attendees who filed in to the packed conference room, Hitchins provided some background on the history of the organization and the student philanthropy groups in charge of determining who receives their awards — Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) at Marshalltown High School, Students Empowering and Leading (SEAL) at East Marshall and Leaders Uplifting Our Community with Charity (LUCC). She was also quick to praise the newly renovated MACC building and urged the audience to check out the Fisher art collection, comparing it to something one might see in New York City or Chicago, and highlighted the creation of a new fund for Marshalltown United for Ukraine, a group that has already assisted in resettling four families displaced by the war there.

Throughout its history, the CFMC has awarded a total of 628 grants to 146 organizations totaling over $1.6 million in value. The biggest single recipient on Tuesday was the Marshall County Conservation Board, which received $20,000 to be put toward the Green Castle Recreation Area campground project.

Near the end of the ceremony, Hitchins presented a $2,000 check to MHS senior Chesni Uhde from Alliant Energy for meal packing, with a goal of packing 50,000 meals this year after hitting 20,000 last year.

During an interview after the ceremony, Hitchins said the joy of giving back to Marshall County organizations never gets old because new organizations and projects are constantly coming into the fold, citing examples like Iowa Project Aware’s Iowa River cleanup.

“Just finding those new organizations and those new causes, it’s just great. It’s wonderful,” she said.

The students are ultimately in charge of deciding which organizations receive their grants by scoring and allocating their funds, and Hitchins hopes the experience they’ve gained at a young age will encourage them to get involved with nonprofit organizations as adults.

“I think it really shows them, first of all, the needs of our community,” she said. “They may not be aware that there are hungry people, but when they serve at the House of Compassion, they see hungry people. I had a student come up to me and say after the House of Compassion ‘I didn’t know how good I had it.’ And then they become aware of the needs, and then they act on it.”

While the grant awards come exclusively from gaming revenues, the CFMC still needs support for operating costs and is happy to accept donations. To contact the Community Foundation for more information or to make a gift, Hitchins can be reached at 641-758-3028, emailed at director@cfmarshallco.org, or visit the website www.cfmarshallco.org.

A full list of award winners is printed below, along with the organization(s) administering the grant.


Marshalltown Arts and Civic Center — Blue Balliett Author Visit (CFMC)

Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA — Teach Them to Swim Program (CFMC)

Marshalltown Public Library — Welcome Collection (CFMC)

Pioneer Heritage Library — Ozobot Programming (CFMC)

Marshalltown Youth Foundation — Orchestra Instruments for the MFY Lending Library (CFMC/STEP)

St. Francis Catholic School — Junior Achievement Program (STEP/CFMC)

Community Betterment

Marshall County Conservation — Green Castle Recreation Area (CFMC)

Albion Municipal Library and Heritage Center — Sign Installation/Community Garden/Yoga Classes (CFMC)

Gutekunst Public Library — Heritage Literacy Project (CFMC)

St. Francis of Assisi — 2023 Catholic Heart Work Camp (CFMC/STEP)

Marshalltown Central Business District (STEP) — 2023 Floral Basket Program

Human Services

The Bridge Home — Motel Room Vouchers for the Homeless (SEAL)

East Marshall Community School District — Backpack Program (SEAL)

Child Abuse Prevention Services — Crisis Intervention Program (LUCC/SEAL/STEP/CFMC)

YSS of Marshall County — Equine Assisted Therapy, MPACT — Special Needs (STEP)

Marshalltown Emergency Food Box — Marshall County Little Free Pantries (SEAL/LUCC)

House of Compassion — Medical and Dental Vouchers (SEAL), Soup Kitchen (LUCC), Medical/Dental/Soup Kitchen/ESL Programs (CFMC)


Gilman Public Library — Heirloom Seed Starter Project (SEAL)

Iowa Project Aware — Summer 2023 Iowa River Cleanup (LUCC/CFMC)

Trees Forever — Marshall County Tree Giveaway (CFMC/LUCC/STEP)


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