The Barlow Family Foundation’s Community Challenge – a two week fundraising blitz that matches donors’ gifts to area nonprofit organizations’ projects – will return for its ninth year this fall, and it’s going to be a big one.
For only the second time since 2013, the Foundation has accepted proposals for six projects. Most other years there have been only three or four participating organizations. The 2021 Challenge participants (and their projects) are:
- Edgewood, which is collecting funds for Enduring Edgewood Endeavors
- Ellsworth College Foundation’s work to create a museum to honor the college’s history
- Iowa Falls-Alden High School’s Cadet Kitchen, which is raising money to buy a food truck
- Iowa Falls-Alden High School’s eSports program, which is working to fund a program expansion
- Iowa Falls-Alden High School’s vocal music program, which is collecting funds to buy risers and sound shells
- Union Cemetery Ladies Social Gathering, which is raising money for foundation and monument repair work
Pam Angstman, chair of the Barlow Family Foundation board, said board members felt all six of the projects were worthy of inclusion in this year’s Challenge.
“We haven’t chosen this many groups in a number of years, but these six all have such a passion for their goals that it was impossible to turn anyone down. All of their presentations were such fun. We even had ‘Mrs. Simplot’ come to plead her cause,” Angstman said, referring to Eva Simplot, Edgewood's founder. Groups like these make Iowa Falls a much stronger community and we are happy to support their projects.”
This year is also unique in that all six of the projects are based in Iowa Falls. In recent years, the Challenge has included groups from Hubbard, Ackley, Eldora, Alden and New Providence.
The Challenge will run Oct. 12-26 this year. The guidelines for the groups and their donors are similar to recent past years. The six groups will accept donations during the 14-day window, but there are some limitations. Gifts must come from individuals, not families or groups, they must be “new” money – not pledges – and they should range in amount from $25 to $100. The Foundation will match all qualifying donations up to the individual goal for each organization. In its first eight years combined, the Challenge has raised more than $1 million for 32 Hardin County projects.
It is up to each non-profit group to market its project and solicit donations. The Times Citizen will publish stories about each group’s project in the weeks leading up to the start of the Challenge.
The Barlow Family Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Iowa Falls State Bank. It was started by the children of Bob and Jerene Barlow after their father, president of the bank from 1953 until 1995, died. The Barlow Family still owns the bank today. In addition to the annual Community Challenge, the Foundation regularly distributes grants to organizations and projects throughout the community.