The Waterloo Community Foundation (WCF) announces the award of 5 grants to local non-profits in Waterloo through a competitive grant process.  Each award aligns with the Foundation’s mission to contribute resources for the betterment of the greater Waterloo, Iowa community and its citizens.  2019 recipients include:

Waterloo Youth City Council – As one of only five cities in Iowa that invites youth voice to city hall, students in Waterloo’s 4 high schools explore, communicate, and provide for the needs, problems, issues and activities affecting Waterloo’s youth today.  Youth are selected by their peers and become civically engaged in their community’s local affairs.  Civic-mindedness, collaboration, and solution-driven approaches are embraced.

Eye of the Needle, Inc. — “Here We Go Again, with Enthusiasm” is how this non-profit is celebrating its 15th anniversary, serving the needs of the unemployed, underemployed, elderly, new comers, or anyone seeking self-sufficiency in the Cedar Valley.  Last year, 1,265 clients received some form of service such as household or personal hygiene items, work attire, bus tickets, gas cards, or coins for laundry.  Relying on volunteers and donations, the agency remains one of the few in the community that provide these essential services.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony – A tradition in the Cedar Valley since 1929, the Symphony is set to perform at the RiverLoop Amphitheatre on July 4, 2020.  This free outdoor concert coincides with the Mayor’s Fireworks display and introduces the group’s work to new and diverse audiences.  Youth will be inspired when the winner of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony’s Youth Artist Concerto Competition is introduced at the celebration.  Come and enjoy the sounds of Sousa marches, show tunes, light classical pieces and the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons.

Try Pie – Young women representing diverse cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses are learning life and leadership skills through meaningful employment at Try Pie.  Just a few years ago, the mentored group was operating out of a church basement.  Now, their downtown Waterloo storefront will be supplemented with a food truck giving access to larger markets for sales.  This expansion deepens leadership and entrepreneurial experiences for students, while serving a new customer base in Waterloo.

EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center) – Refugee women are often marginalized, due to lack of education and vocational training.  EMBARC, working through the Community Producers Garden, will utilize communal garden space to grow, sell and eat their own culturally specific produce.  Ten youth will work alongside these women, learning business skills, marketing and agricultural production practices.  This multi-year economic development initiative is empowering, embraces community collaboration and promotes self-sufficiency.  

Grants Committee Chair Dr. Wilfred Johnson stated, “we received 27 grant applications representing a wide range of projects in the areas of education, health and  human services, economic development and arts and culture.  Each communicated significant community need and was compelling.  It tells us that we have lots of work to do and that we are on the right tract in establishing a foundation that focuses solely on Waterloo and vicinity.”  Dr. Johnson commented further:  “This year, with the generous financial support of Margaret Bradford, we were able to award one additional grant to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony.  Margaret is a long-time Waterloo resident and we are pleased to give this grant in her honor.”

Since the Foundation incorporated in 2015, over $92,000 has been invested in philanthropic work in the community.  The Foundation solicits competitive proposals annually.

A formal awards ceremony will be held at a later date.