This year marks the 20th anniversary of Lakeside Casino’s opening in Clarke County. The Casino’s arrival not only meant a big boost to local employment and attractions for tourism and entertainment, but it also provided a tremendous opportunity for the Clarke County Development Corporation and the community they serve.
As the Qualifying Sponsoring Organization (QSO) for Lakeside Hotel and Casino, the CCDC receives a percentage of gaming revenues that, in turn, fund their robust grant program. But many Clarke County organizations still have questions about the grant application process and how CCDC can help find financing and support for programs in Osceola and surrounding communities.
Through the CCDC, there are a variety of opportunities for grant application and consideration. Each grant has a unique application process and purpose. With help from Elizabeth Simpson, CCDC Program Manager, we’ve outlined some of the options and significant opportunities to benefit local non-profits.
Depending on the type of grant and its purpose, applicants have a variety of opportunities for funding through the CCDC:
• PILLARS GRANT PROGRAM – This is specifically a matching funds grant for local 501c3 organizations. When applying for a Pillars Grant, organizations must show proof that they have secured half of the total cost of the project. They must also meet other specific criteria such as completing the project within one year, giving quarterly progress reports, and securing letters of support from the community.
The CCDC Board hears requests for Pillars Grants at each monthly board meeting. Board members review the information provided by the applicants, discuss the scope and impact of the request and then the grant committee takes the information and discussion into consideration for a final vote on distribution at the following board meeting. CCDC board meetings are open to the public and are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 9:00 AM.
• COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM – Awarding smaller amounts, $500 or less, the CDP is perfect for local sports or dance teams, youth groups, or other non-business organizations that contribute to the quality of life of Clarke County.
• DEMOLITION GRANTS – Through this program, CCDC helps pay up to $5000 or 50% of demolition costs to remove condemned structures, excluding landfill fees.
CDP donations and Demolition Grants can be applied for through the CCDC and proposed to the board at their monthly meetings. Unlike the larger Pillars Grants, the CDP and Demolition grant discussions and distribution of funds typically take place on the same day.
If your organization doesn’t meet the criteria for any of the above grant opportunities offered through the CCDC, that doesn’t mean you can’t secure a grant at all. The CCDC office is available to assist with grant writing and research at no cost to you or your organization to help find funding appropriate to the project.
“Sometimes organizations can’t meet the criteria for the grants offered through the CCDC, but we are also here to walk them through the grant process,” said Elizabeth Simpson. “We have a great knowledge base of available grants and their requirements. The application falls directly on the applicant, we are unable to write the proposal, but we can teach best practices and share tips we’ve learned over the years.”
Organizations like the Food Bank of Iowa, Clarke County Animal Shelter, CROSS Ministries, and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation are just a few of the dozens of recipients who have benefited from the CCDC grant programs and the support from Lakeside Casino.
“Before the casino moved into the community, we had no grant program in Clarke County,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC. “The impact these grants and Lakeside Casino have had in Osceola and across Clarke County has been tremendous and has really helped to improve quality of life in our part of south-central Iowa.”