RELEASE: Great Outdoors Foundation Receives Polk County Community Development Grant

DES MOINES, IA (Jan. 30, 2024) – The Great Outdoors Foundation is pleased to announce that a $100,000 Community Development Grant from Polk County has been awarded to its newly created Conservation Fund, a strategic, environmentally-focused investment mechanism. Polk County’s funding will be used to deploy a multi-layered strategy to educate and resource stakeholders on water quality related issues. This methodology will be implemented both in Polk County and in communities upstream that impact Central Iowa’s watersheds.

The Conservation Fund is designed to expedite current water quality improvement initiatives by multiplying existing resources and funding. This grant from Polk County will be used to implement several tactics:

  • Municipal training: By culling all of the relevant data, tools, and resources, the Great Outdoors Foundation will lead an expansive training effort for municipalities both in Polk County and upstream in communities that inadvertently affect the quality of water flowing in Central Iowa rivers and streams.
  • Project batching playbook and training: Polk County Water Resources Supervisor, Jon Swanson, has had tremendous success with his Batch & Build initiative, completing 136 projects over the last two years. By capturing his process and creating a step by step directive for other jurisdictions to replicate, the Great Outdoors Foundation will equip other leaders in key watersheds with the same knowledge.
  • Resource data hub: The Great Outdoors Foundation and its partners are developing a digital tool that centralizes all information related to conservation and water quality programs across private and public sectors in an easy-to-access format, supporting access to resources and ease of adoption.
  • Urban education: The Conservation Fund looks to engage grassroots stakeholder groups to educate and inform Polk County residents on how the Great Outdoors Foundation and its partners are working upstream and downstream, as well as alleviating common misconceptions, addressing concerns, and developing stewards of our waterways.
  • Upstream outreach: In order to maximize adoption and implementation, the Great Outdoors Foundation will work with its partners upstream to educate and inform rural stakeholders. This includes the general public at large, but also municipalities, private businesses, and nonprofits with a vested interest in water quality.

“We are incredibly grateful to Polk County for its leadership in conservation and stewardship,” Hannah Inman, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Outdoors Foundation, said. “This isn’t just an investment in our region, it’s an investment in our state — and future generations.”

“Polk County is proud to provide this $100,0000 Community Development Grant to the Great Outdoors Foundation,” Angela Connolly, Polk County Board Chair, said. “We know that with these funds, the Great Outdoors Foundation will have the ability to lead an expansive training effort for municipalities not only in Polk County, but also upstream in communities that have a significant impact on the quality of water flowing through our region and its hundreds of miles of surrounding waterways.”

For more information or to become a Conservation Fund investor, click here.


About Great Outdoors Foundation

The Great Outdoors Foundation exists to advance conservation through innovation, collaboration, and stewardship. We are the foremost fundraising professionals in the conservation and outdoor recreation sector. Together, we activate meaningful, accessible initiatives that enhance our environment and improve quality of life. Over the last three years, we have invested more than $200 million in conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives, and we’re just getting started.

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