Grow Greene County awards $30,000 to six area initiatives
Special to the Jefferson Herald
A tradition was started in 2016 by the Grow Greene County Board of Directors to surprise deserving agencies in Greene County with a Give Back Award during the holiday season.
This year on the heels of another successful year at Wild Rose Jefferson, the Grow Greene County Board gave out six Give Back Awards on Nov. 17, two more than any year prior.
Rather than surprise the organizations at their place of business as in years past, the Grow Greene County Board invited the six agencies to the rotunda of the Greene County courthouse on to receive an award. None of the agencies knew the amount of the award they would be receiving but suspected based on previous years that they may be a recipient of a Give Back Award.
The organizations invited to attend the presentation included Action Resource Center Food Pantry, New Opportunities, Inc Greene County Family Development Center, Greene County Homeless Coalition, RSVP 55+, Congregate Meals, and Adopt a Family. Each received a check for $5,000, a total of $30,000 was awarded in 2022 Give Back Awards.
In the spirit of giving, the Grow Greene County board of directors selected these organizations because they reach all age level of citizen in Greene County, from retirement resources to living opportunities.
The Grow Greene County board of directors is comprised of Bob Allen, Norm Fandel, Lori Mannel, Craig Marquardt, Rick Morain, Brenda Muir, Kate Neese, Peg Raney, Dawn Rudolph (ex-officio from the Greene County board of supervisors), Matt Weitrich (ex-officio from the Jefferson city council), Mike Mumma (lawyer) and Cindy Duhrkopf (admin assistant).
Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation (Grow Greene County) receives 5 percent of the adjusted gross gaming revenue from Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson. The distribution of 4.1 percent goes to non-profit organizations in Greene County, the Greene County Community Foundation, Greene County Schools, and municipalities. The six contiguous counties’ community foundations receive 0.9 percent which is awarded through individual community foundations.
Grow Greene County is the 501c(4) non-profit affiliate called a QSO (Qualified Sponsoring Organization) and holds the gaming license for Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson, Iowa.
HISTORY OF GROW GREENE COUNTY
Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation holds the state license for gaming activities in Greene County. The corporation was organized locally and certified following the 2013 Greene County referendum that approved gaming in the county by more than a three to one margin.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission then approved the construction of a gaming casino in Greene County. The casino is owned by Wild Rose Entertainment LLC of West Des Moines and operates under an agreement with Grow Greene County. Grow Greene County comprises an eight-member board of directors. The board includes four women and four men, who represent all geographical sectors of the county. In 2019 two ex-officio members were added to represent the county and the City of Jefferson. Members’ terms are for three years. A member may serve for three consecutive terms.
Grow Greene County’s mission is “to serve as a catalyst to leverage and coordinate resources while providing opportunities for leadership and vision.” To do so, the corporation receives five percent of the adjusted gross gaming revenues of Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson and distributes them to worthy organizations and causes.
Under its agreement with Wild Rose, 82 percent of Grow Greene’s receipts goes for projects in Greene County and 18 percent is distributed equally to the community foundations of the six counties that adjoin Greene County’s borders. Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation has distributed more than $5,000,000 to worthwhile area projects since its inception.
Iowa law requires each county that has passed a gaming referendum to hold a second referendum eight years after the initial one. For Greene County, that second vote took place in November of 2021 and an overwhelming majority voted YES!
ARC installs solar panels
Early in 2022, the Greene County Christian Action Resource Center applied for a grant from the Greene County Community Foundation (GCCF) to install solar panels on the food pantry facility. The GCCF board approved to fund this project with an award of $32,227. Finally, this dream of tapping the sun for electricity is coming to pass. The solar panels were installed on Sept. 28, and with just a few more steps to finish the project, the Greene County ARC will soon be saving $600 per month in utility costs.
“Those extra funds can be used to buy food for those in need rather than pay for electricity,” said Shirley Haupert.
GCCF board members are thrilled with this project because it was funded by using funds from the Greene County Community Foundation’s Endowment accounts. The GCCF endowment has been growing, in part, from donations made from community members over the years. Currently, the endowment accounts have a balance over $1,300,000. From those funds, the board can use up to five percent each year to fund projects that benefit Greene County. This year, the Alice Walters Estate was a large donor to the endowment. As their slogan states, these funds will serve Greene County “for good, forever.”