Community Foundation Announces Leadership Grants

Jul. 25, 2019 null

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Announces Leadership Grants


Through strategic Leadership Grants, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines plays a key role in providing significant funding to projects that strengthen Greater Des Moines. Leadership Grants are funded through donations to the Better Together Fund. Donors to the Better Together Fund give to support community needs now and into the future as identified through the Community Foundation’s grantmaking process. Facilitated by the organization’s expert staff, Grantmaking Committee and board of directors, the grant program prioritizes “tidal wave” initiatives that respond to community trends and opportunities. The Community Foundation announces support of the following two organizations with Leadership Grants:

By Degrees Foundation

A $25,000 Leadership Grant will support By Degrees Foundation (formerly known as the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation) for “Connecting the Dots at North High School”. The project will extend the Dreamer Academy model to deliver college and career readiness programming to students in the school feeder pattern of Findley Elementary, Harding Middle School and now North High School. At North, By Degrees will enhance partnerships, helping coordinate collaboration for increased student and family access to resources that encourage postsecondary achievement.

“By Degrees is building on decades of partnership with Des Moines Public Schools to establish K-12 programming that invests in students and families,” said Emily Westergaard, executive director of By Degrees. "The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines’ support of our Dreamer Academy model underscores the opportunity for innovative interventions to extend the influence of our schools. We are grateful for support that will help us launch at North High School.”  

Community Youth Concepts

A $25,000 Leadership Grant will support Community Youth Concepts (CYC) development of a high and low ropes course. The course will be located at Stowe Elementary on Des Moines’ East side, and managed by CYC, a youth development organization that engages middle and high school youth in programming directed at healthy behaviors, life skills and sense of purpose. This project is projected to serve over 2,000 youth annually across the metro with programming that emphasizes building core skills around confidence, teamwork, problem-solving and trust. It will also enhance opportunities by becoming the only wheelchair accessible high ropes course in the Midwest.

“When individuals have experiences that allow them to build relationships and work as a team, they are in a better position to consider other perspectives when tackling community issues,” says Amy Croll, executive director of Community Youth Concepts. “We are thrilled the Community Foundation chose to make a tidal wave investment in an experience that molds youth into confident leaders ready to work together on the tough community issues of today and tomorrow.”