Created in 2004 by the Iowa State Legislature, the the County Endowment Fund Program (CEFP) increases philanthropic activity to enhance the quality of life for Iowans. Through this program 0.8% of Iowa’s commercial gaming tax revenue is distributed annually to community foundations in the 84 counties that do not hold a state-issued gaming license. The community foundations then grant 75% of those funds to nonprofits and charitable projects within their counties. Funds are granted at the local level.
The remaining 25% of funds are placed in a permanent endowment fund for the county, which is intended to attract other donations and provide a source of permanent funding for charitable projects within the county – forever. Combined, these charitable assets are now worth over $288 million. These dollars are invested in perpetuity, with annual endowment payouts supporting charitable causes and nonprofits in every corner of our state.
There are 15 counties with state-licensed gaming facilities that do not participate in the County Endowment Fund Program. However, each of the gaming facilities in those counties fund a nonprofit entity that distributes charitable grants on their behalf in their area.
Through both the CEFP and grantmaking in counties with state-issued gaming licenses, charitable investments are made annually in each county throughout Iowa. A comprehensive list of grants made each year is available in the annual report produced by the Iowa Council of Foundations and the Iowa Gaming Association.