The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

JoCo grant allows county organizations to recover after pandemic impacts

Johnson County gives out nonprofit capacity grants to local organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emma Calabro
Lisa Green-Douglass listens to a speaker during a Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2023.

The Johnson County government is providing $2.1 million in much-needed grants, which will help the organizations better serve the community.

The nonprofit capacity grant program agreement was approved by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors Thursday and is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. The act was initially created to assist organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be split between non-arts nonprofits, child care, social services, and local arts nonprofits.

Organizations receiving grant money from Johnson County include:

  • The Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic
  • Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity
  • Good Shepherd Center
  • Summer of the Arts
  • The Englert Civic Theatre.

The capacity grant program provides varying grant amounts to these local organizations, depending on what each organization requests and what is approved by the county. The Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic, for example, was the recipient of a $300,000 grant.

Jennie Schmidt, director of the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic, said her organization’s goal is to provide health care to as many people as possible, specifically those without access to insurance affordable care.

“[Our clients] save a lot of money by keeping people out of the ER, and we help keep our community members and our neighbors healthier,” Schmidt said.

The clinic will be using the money to complete renovations on the first floor of its existing facility.

“We need more room for exam space, pharmacy space, lab space, office space, dental space, so we have a two-floor facility that’s only operational on the upper level right now,” Schmidt said. “These funds combined will help us to become fully operational on two levels.”

Scott Hawes, the executive director at Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity, said the organization will use the $150,000 it received to install an HVAC system in its warehouse.

“We will use the funds to install an energy-efficient HVAC system in our warehouse,” Hawes said. “This HVAC system will allow us to do construction activities in the harshest weather conditions.”

Hawes said the organization is thankful for the continuous support from the Johnson County supervisors, as the HVAC system is critical for volunteers who work in the warehouse during the winter months.

RELATED: Iowa City nonprofits to expand services with American Rescue Plan Act funds

Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts program received $7,000 from the grant. With this money, the program plans to update its information technology department by buying new computers, printers, and technical storage space.

Andrea Truitt, the director of Engagement for the Summer of the Arts, said she is thankful the grant focuses on funding internal work such as necessary IT updates.

“The grant is really helpful in the sense that sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes you have a lot of grants that are focused on programming and very external focus,” Truitt said. “So, it’s really nice to have this particular one that can allow for those capital or building requests or operational expenses.”

The nonprofit organizations asked that the community continue to support them through volunteering, donations, and spreading knowledge about their work for the county.

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