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Establishment of the Cultural Trust

Purpose

In 2002 the Iowa Legislature recognized that cultural organizations are critical to Iowa’s future: they generate millions of dollars in economic activity; attract people to live and work in Iowa’s communities; train minds for the creative economy jobs of the future; and build social capital. At the same time, these vital cultural organizations are often undercapitalized.

Recognizing the crucial importance of these organizations, the legislature established the Iowa Cultural Trust to assist in bringing financial stability to Iowa nonprofit cultural organizations committed to attaining long-term financial stability and sustainability. See Iowa Code 303A Iowa Cultural Trust.

Appropriations to the Cultural Trust

Funding for the Iowa Cultural Trust is provided by the Iowa Legislature, which may appropriate up to $1 million to the Trust annually. Since 2004, the Iowa Legislature has appropriated a total of $6.2 million out of a possible $11 million. The Treasurer of the State of Iowa acts as custodian of the Cultural Trust Fund and oversees investment of its monies. Interest generated by the Cultural Trust supports Cultural Trust grant programs and by law, only the interest from the appropriated funds can be used for Cultural Trust grant programs.

Iowa Cultural Trust Grants

The Iowa Cultural Trust distributes funds through two grant programs: Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grants and Cultural Trust Stability Grants.

Endowment Challenge Grants incentivize giving to Iowa’s nonprofit cultural organizations by providing up to $30,000 in matching dollars to endowment funds dedicated to supplementing the operating budgets these institutions. Applicants are required to demonstrate that they have adopted and implemented strategies to secure their long-term stability and sustainability. Grant recipients are required to raise $3 in new endowment funds raised specifically for this campaign for every dollar awarded in grant funds. See Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant guidelines.

Cultural Trust Stability Grants seek to help Iowa cultural organizations make measureable progress toward goals of fiscal stability and implementing best practices in organizational strategic planning and management. Applicants may apply for up to $2,500 and are required to provide $1 of matching funds for every dollar requested. See Cultural Trust Stability Grant guidelines.

Cultural Trust Administration

The Iowa Cultural Trust is overseen by a thirteen-member Board of Trustees. These include five members appointed by the Governor (subject to Senate confirmation) and one member appointed by each of the following: the Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, and House Minority Leader. In addition, the board includes four ex-officio members: the Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Iowa Arts Council board chair, State Historical Society of Iowa board chair, and the State Treasurer (or designee). The Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, provides administrative support to the Cultural Trust board and manages the day-to-day operations of the Cultural Trust.

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