OTTUMWA — John Deere recently awarded a $76,000 grant to Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress.
Sharon Stroh, GOPiP VP of Industrial Development and Organizational Communication, said the grant will provide many opportunities such as technology updates and new resources for rebranding the recently merged organization from the former chamber of commerce and economic development “to a more holistic economic vitality business.”
“Part of our request was to update our technologies, provide cloud-based services, and migrate data and archives,” Stroh said, “so that GOPiP staff could work conveniently off-site. Little did we know how important that would be when we submitted our application last December.”
“These efforts will work to more fully educate constituencies on the new structure and consolidated services,” Stroh added.
GOPIP will give $10,000 to Main Street Ottumwa. The funds will be used to promote the services and projects of Main Street, as well as new options for downtown redevelopment — including streetscape, small business assistance, marketing and special events.
GOPIP will also distribute $15,600 to the Ottumwa Community School District to underwrite the ACT test for OHS Juniors, a program started last year with the Gear Up cohort. More than 41 percent of participants in the 2019 ACT test have gone on to complete the FAFSA and 326 students have participated in college exploration. Ninety percent of students visited at least one college campus.
“We feel like we’ve addressed several components of the spirit of the grant,” Stroh said, “which emphasizes increased secondary graduation rates, supports economic development initiatives that help with job growth, and advances GDP by increasing community valuation. We are thankful for the confidence John Deere Foundation and local Ottumwa works staff demonstrate in supporting our request for these essential funds.”