Community Foundation Grants $420,000 to Support Community Projects

Dec 30, 2022

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines has awarded Leadership Grants totaling $420,000 to support three community projects: the North Side Community Recreation Center, Center at Sixth, and the 50314 Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) On-Demand pilot. Leadership Grants are made possible by the Better Together Fund.

Through strategic Leadership Grants, the Community Foundation supports projects that create significant impact on community needs and opportunities by providing nimble funding and centering grant awards around equity. 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.

North Side Community Recreation Center

A $250,000 Leadership Grant to the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Foundation will support the construction of a new North Side Community Recreation Center (NSCRC) adjacent to the current Grubb YMCA. The 40,000-square-foot facility will serve families and individuals in the heart of Des Moines’ north side, featuring several community spaces that support STEAM-oriented activities, an interior NBA-sized gym space, and a family oriented indoor aquatic facility. The Grubb YMCA will remain in operation until the new NSCRC facility is fully functional to ensure there is no interruption of community recreation services. 

“The generosity of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and the award of this grant helps Des Moines Parks and Recreation take a big step forward on the North Side Community Recreation Center,” shared Ben Page, City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation director. “When completed, this facility will positively impact the residents of Des Moines for generations to come.”

Center at Sixth

A $150,000 Leadership Grant will support the development of Center at Sixth—a mixed-use commercial space located at 1714 6th Avenue, in the heart of Des Moines’ most ethnically diverse neighborhood. It will include 12,000 square feet of commercial space featuring established Black and Brown businesses and a nonprofit Black and Brown main street business incubator. This new community hub for the 6th Avenue neighborhood will provide indoor and outdoor space for gatherings, public events and celebrations of local arts and culture. 

“Center At Sixth’s impact on the community and ability to catalyze systemic change will have a generational effect on our region,” shares Marquas Ashworth, developer of Center at Sixth. “With everything a small business owner needs to succeed under one roof, projects this bold and unique are not possible without the support of groups like the Community Foundation. This commitment helps ensure that this transformative small business movement continues changing and impacting lives and our local economy.”

DART – 50314 On-Demand Pilot

A $20,000 Leadership Grant will support DART in piloting a new on-demand service within the 50314 zip code to evaluate the degree to which it improves overall mobility and outcomes for individuals in the area. The 50314 on-demand pilot will test a microtransit solution for vulnerable populations who experience barriers to transportation. DART’s goal is to improve individuals’ financial stability and wellness through access to more employment opportunities and essential services. Testing on-demand service in this zip code will help DART and other partners understand to what degree adding this flexible mobility solution may reduce transportation barriers.

“DART is grateful for this investment in our ability to pilot on-demand transit service in this important area of our community,” said Luis Montoya, DART Chief Planning Officer. “Leveraging support from funders and key partners such as the Community Foundation helps reinforce the importance of affordable transportation as an essential ingredient to accessing opportunities, improving financial wellness and fostering equitable and sustainable community resiliency.”