The Dallas County Foundation has announced its 2014 schedule for grant applications and community workshops. The non-profit foundation, formed in 2005 to distribute the county’s share of state gambling taxes, funds various charitable and civic and cultural organizations across Dallas County.

This year the foundation will accept grant applications beginning Feb. 1 and continuing until April 14. Winning applications are chosen in May and receive funding in September.

The Dallas County Foundation will also sponsor four public workshops in February designed to help applicants write their grants and to answer questions about the selection process.

"The Dallas County Foundation is a charitable foundation created by and for local citizens to improve the quality of life right here in our communities," said Scott C. Cirksena, Dallas County Foundation spokesperson.

"We are here to help donors make a positive, local impact by offering a variety of giving tools to help people achieve their charitable giving goals and do good work in our communities that lasts forever," Cirksena said.

Along with gaming revenues, the Dallas County Foundation is also partially supported by private donations. In 2013, for instance, the foundation received a $10,000 matching donation from Bob and Jane Sturgeon of Urbandale, owners of the Barr-Nunn Transportation in Granger.

The foundation was able to raise an additional $10,000 in private donations, matching and so receiving the Sturgeons’ gift.

The grant-writing workshops are free and open to the public. Each workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. They will be held:

Wednesday, Feb. 5 at the Perry Public Library, 1101 Willis Ave. in Perry

Monday, Feb. 10 at the Adel Public Library, 303 S. 10th St. in Adel

Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the Granger Public Library, 2216 Broadway in Granger

Monday, Feb. 25 at the Waukee Public Library, 950 Warrior Ln. in Waukee

Gambling laws passed by the Iowa General Assembly in 2004 included several provisions intended to steer gambling taxes toward charitable purposes. One provision required a portion of Iowa’s gaming tax revenues—eight-tenths of one percent—be distributed among the 85 Iowa counties without casinos.

In order to bring this about, a County Endowment Fund was created within the Iowa Department of Revenue to collect and distribute the tax money to the non-casino counties. Almost $8 million in gaming taxes were distributed to counties in 2013 through the endowment fund.

County-level foundations, such as the Dallas County Foundation, were in turn created to receive the state Endowment Fund monies and distribute them down to local civic and charitable organizations in the form of grants.

Iowa currently has 18 casinos, three racetracks and three Native American Indian casinos. The Iowa gaming industry as a whole generates about $1.5 billion in revenues annually. Between three and five percent of these earnings trickle down through the county-level foundations to local charities and public-service organizations

The Dallas County Foundation awards grants in the areas of arts and culture, youth development, education, health and human services, recreation, environment and community betterment. The foundation has given out about $625,000 in grants since its founding.

In 2013 it awarded 23 grants totalling about $92,000, mostly targeted at public organizations such as police and fire departments, schools and libraries and medical facilities.

For more information or to receive a grant application, contact the Dallas County Foundation, P.O. Box # 46, Adel, IA 50003. Questions may also be directed to Cheryl Semerad, cherylsemerad@gmail.com.