Dodge Trust awards $75,000 in grants to service providers

Ethel Walsh

The Dodge Trust announced 12 recipients of $75,000 in grant funding at a ceremony at Council Bluffs City Hall on Tuesday.

The purpose of the Dodge Trust is to provide funding to charitable organizations or agencies that provide essential services to the residents of Council Bluffs, according to the trust board.

Recipients of 2022 Dodge Trust grants include the Council Bluffs Pantry Association, which works to provide food, clothing and temporary housing to those in need; and New Visions Homeless Services, which helps those experiencing homelessness identify and overcome any trauma that might be acting as a barrier to creating and sustaining a stable environment for themselves.

“I cannot even express how appreciative we are of the Dodge Trust grant,” said Teresa Hildreth, treasurer of the CBPA. “This funding makes it possible for our pantry members to be able to buy much needed food and personal hygiene items, which are then provided to struggling households in our community. Inflation has affected our buying power, decreased our donations and has increased the need for our services. We are thankful for the financial support and look forward to restocking our shelves.”

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New Visions has also been impacted by rising costs due to inflation, as many donors and donor organizations have cut funding this year, making the Dodge Trust grant that much more meaningful and important, New Visions CEO Brandy Wallar said.

“The support of the Dodge Trust fund allows us to continue our mission of feeding the hungry and housing the homeless,” Wallar said. “These extra dollars will actually go towards, we’re planning on opening up a warming center … These dollars are so crucial to be able to operate a warming center to allow people that are experiencing street level homelessness, that are living in their vehicles, a safe place to go throughout the day and connect with resources.”

Wallar will be going before the Council Bluffs City Council at its next meeting, Jan. 9, 2023, to request a temporary use permit for a warming center this winter.

New Visions has operated a warming center for the last two years to allow people experiencing homelessness to get out of the cold for a few hours.

“This weather, people die in it,” Wallar said. “I don’t even have funding for this. Before we decided we’re going forward, I didn’t know I was getting the Dodge Trust fund, and my staff is like, ‘Brandy, people are going to die if we don’t open (the warming center).’”

During a previous meeting with the City Council, members expressed concern about unruly or unlawful behavior at the warming center, which Wallar acknowledged as valid concerns while pointing out that “there was not one police call last year, because I was able to spread out these people and treat them like human beings.”

Since the inception of the Dodge Trust in 1989, when the city received one-third of the residuary estate of Gen. Grenville Dodge, the Dodge Trust Board of Trustees has overseen the trust’s assets grow from $900,000 to in excess of $3.5 million. The trust board has distributed more than $2 million to organizations around Council Bluffs.

The Dodge Trust is managed by the board, which is appointed by the Mayor with the concurrence of the City Council. With questions or for more information, call the City Attorney’s Office at 712-890-5317.

Organizations that received 2022 grants:

Council Bluffs Pantry Association, $25,000

Heartland Family Service — Heartland Homes, $4,000

Council Bluffs Ministry with the Mentally Handicapped, $1,000

Catholic Charities Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Program (formerly known as Phoenix House), $3,000

Jennie Edmundson Hospital, $4,000

CHI — Alegent Health, $2,000

New Visions Homeless Service, $15,000

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