The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 23, 2011

Legacy Foundation to boost good ideas

Organization not just a financial benefactor

OTTUMWA — A project to improve the community can start with just a good idea. The project can end there, too, unless further steps are taken.

The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has voted to begin supporting organizations that support Wapello County.

“We realized there needed to be money for not-for-profits to do their work,” said Brad Little, president and CEO of the foundation. “This is one prong of that strategy.”

The Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund will distribute $150,000 after reviewing applications for grants. The grants are expected to range from $2,500 to $30,000. A similar distribution will happen three times a year.

“We realize there are a lot of great ideas out there that just haven’t had the money to get going,” said Kelly Genners, the foundation director of operations.

The foundation was started with money from the sale of Ottumwa Regional Health Center. The goal is to use the interest on that core investment to support the community from now on.

They actually have decided to do so in two ways. One will be long-term work with public service organizations, with some projects not coming to fruition for years. But they also want money to give away by being “responsive” to innovative organizations with good ideas.

“As long as they can show us they’re serving our residents,” said Genners.  

But, added Little, this isn’t just an effort to throw money at problems hoping they’ll go away.

An agency needs more than a bright idea to get funding from the legacy foundation. They need a strategy to run their project in a way that helps part of Wapello County. To encourage applicants to really think, and to make sure agencies have their ducks in a row, Genners and the staff developed an online application form.

“We want to challenge them to be more collaborative with other organizations, to look for additional funding options and to look at the sustainability of their project,” Little said.

Little posed a simplified hypothetical example: It may be an agency’s great idea to purchase a van to provide transportation for an unserved group of Ottumwans. The foundation wants the applicant to ask if the same van service is already available. If not, is another group across town struggling to develop the very same project? Could the two groups team up? Maybe one agency wants to purchase a van to bus its patients around on Mondays and Fridays, while the other Wapello County group only wants to bus the elderly around on Tuesdays and Thursdays.   

And how will the applicant pay for upkeep on the van? Will they hire a driver? Do they require additional liability insurance in order to drive people around town? How will they pay for that, or will the van just sit empty for weeks while they struggle to put gas in the tank?

“The Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund is a new opportunity for new money. But we think this process will really encourage these organizations to think about how they do things,” said Little. “To think about how they can have an impact on the community — and how we can help.”

The application deadline is midnight, Aug. 21.

For Your Information:

Not for profit 501c(3) groups wanting a grant must first submit an application at No paper applications will be accepted.

Text Only
Local News
  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Byway color photo -L -T -M Bike the Byway coming to southeast Iowa

    OTTUMWA — The first Bike the Byway ride will feature communities along the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and make for a fun day of bike riding. Scheduled for June 21, the ride will begin in Ottumwa and take cyclists through Blakesburg, Unionville, Drak

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Tupper cover bw -L -T -M The 24-hour news cycle OTTUMWA — It's a story of political campaigning, dark secrets and the painful glare of the national spotlight — and Ottumwa plays a cameo role. In J. Mark Powell's new novel "Tell It Like Tupper," several southern Iowa towns provide much of the story

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0423 OTT Reminisce color photo -L -T -M 'On the Riverfront' draws a crowd OTTUMWA — The Des Moines River has been the defining feature of Ottumwa since its early days, and the crowd who attended Tuesday's Reminisce Society presentation proves it's still an immensely popular topic. The Ottumwa Public Library's meeting room

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT artist rendering color -L -T -M New look for Jefferson Street parking lot OTTUMWA — More improvements are on their way to downtown Ottumwa. During a special meeting of the Ottumwa City Council Monday night, council members approved a memorandum of understanding with the Legacy Foundation to improve the parking lot south of

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Happier students, higher scores OTTUMWA — It's nearly a cliche in the business world: "Happy workers are productive workers." Schools are testing whether "Happier students are higher achieving students." "That sense of belonging [drives people] to achievement," said Davis Eidahl, s

    April 21, 2014

  • Legacy Foundation announces $150,000 in grant awards OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has announced the names of its newest Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund partners as 14 grants were recently awarded to local nonprofit organizations totaling $150,000. “We received $350,000 in fun

    April 21, 2014

Photo reprints