Community Foundation grants $450,000 to community projects

Jan. 18, 2019 null

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 by responding to community trends and opportunities.  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 Community Foundation announces support of the following three organizations with Leadership Grants:


Des Moines Public Schools
A $100,000 Leadership Grant will support Des Moines Public Schools in its effort to create an online high school called Virtual Campus, the first of its kind in Central Iowa. The project aims to increase access to courses for a variety of learners with the goal of ensuring graduation for individuals with multiple barriers. It is anticipated that 2,000 students will use the online academy as either full or part-time access to high school education. “Our vision at Des Moines Public Schools is becoming the model for urban education in the United States, and creating the first Iowa-developed online high school is a big step in that direction,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. "The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines’ support of the DMPS Virtual Campus is significant in helping us meet the diverse needs of our students, providing each with access to an educational program that is best for them.”  


The Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families

A $250,000 Leadership Grant will support the Evelyn K. Davis Center’s (EKD) relocation to a larger facility, in the same neighborhood, that will allow for expansion of services and an increase in the number of clients served annually. The new space also allows for additional collaborations and partnerships. The demand for services and programs through EKD has grown and the pending sale of the current property to the neighborhood grocery store will provide increased access to food in an area identified as a food desert. “All of us at the Evelyn K. Davis (EKD) Center for Working Families and DMACC are grateful to the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines for this Leadership Grant and their valuable support to launch the Center six years ago,” said Marvin DeJear, director of the EKD Center. “The relocation will allow the EKD Center to grow our programs and services, including the Financial Empowerment Center, Youthbuild, Workforce Training Academy (WTA) orientations, English as a Second Language (ESL), our Men on the Move clothing closet and digital literacy classes. The new location, next to the DMACC Urban Campus, is a perfect fit as well. Together we will have an even greater impact preparing students and residents for employment and success.”


House of Mercy

A $100,000 Leadership Grant will support efforts to reimagine and repurpose an existing wing within the House of Mercy as a Mental Health Center for current clients, as well as the general community. The transformation of this wing will increase the number of mental health care professionals from 13 to 20. Additionally, the new facility will allow for the addition of a projected 9,000 hours of appointment times and an anticipated 900 clients in Central Iowa. “Mercy Foundation is incredibly grateful to receive this generous gift from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. This contribution will not only guide the vital, integrated care at the new House of Mercy Mental Health Center, but also it will continue to shape the ongoing mental health progress in our community,” said Shannon Cofield, Mercy Foundation president.