Frequently Asked Questions
Will my organization be notified that Black Hawk County Gaming Association received our application?
Yes, all applicants will receive an email verifying that we received the Letter of Intent via the online grant application. This will be accompanied with an explanation of what needs to happen next.
When will grants be awarded?
Grants are awarded four times per year--February, May, August and November. Each grant application is individually reviewed by the Board of Directors. The board meets to prioritize all of the applications and to make funding recommendations. The process takes approximately 8 weeks from the deadline date.
What are the criteria for getting a grant approved?
Grants are primarily awarded to projects that will make the Cedar Valley a stronger, better place to live. Applicants must be public agencies, educational organizations or 501(c)(3) not-for-profits organizations as determined from the IRS). We place an emphasis on proposals that:
- Enhance public facilities
- Create, replace or upgrade substantial capital items
- Create new opportunities where none now exist
- Maximize community resources by collaborating with other local organizations
- Eliminate redundant programs through community collaboration
- Have at least 50% matching funds already available
Applications should show how the project can sustain itself long-term without relying on additional funds from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association every year.
Will Black Hawk County Gaming Association fund applications that request long-term funding over a period of multiple years?
No, at this time, the organization will consider operating requests, but not in consecutive years.
Are matching funds required?
Yes. The board will not consider requests for 100% funding and prefers projects with at least a 50% match. Generally, we prefer that are able to raise money from additional sources or have that money available in their budget.
How do I apply for a grant?
Three words: Read, Write, Submit. You read all the instructions, write a Letter of Intent and then submit your application online once you have received an email telling you the project meets eligibility guidelines. More details are available here.
When are grant deadlines? Black Hawk County Gaming Association funds projects four times a year.
- September 15
- December 15
- March 15
- June 15
Are cost estimates for my project required?
Budget amounts submitted should include verifiable costs including supplier/contractor proposals or quotations if available. If not available with the grant request, such information is required prior to signing the contract with Black Hawk County Gaming Association.
Can my project include small portable items in the budget?
Grant applications for construction, remodeling, equipment, furnishings shall include only durable items having multi-year usefulness or is part of, or attached to a permanent structure.
The Board’s preference is to consider grants from organizations having a minimum of one year operating history. Grant applications shall include evidence or planning data supporting that the organization will continue to be sustainable.
Why do city-related grants have to be prioritized by the mayor?
This is to make sure the city government approves of the project. Getting the mayor’s prioritization isn’t a legal obligation for us to fund the project—it’s just for us to take mayor’s recommendations into account.
Why do school-related grants have to be signed by the superintendent?
To ensure that the school board is aware of the project and approves of it.
Is a Letter of Intent Required?
Yes! It’s the first step in applying for funds. In fact, you need to have your letter submitted 90 days before the application itself. If you are asking for more than $500,000, the letter is due even earlier—six months, to be exact.
You must submit the letter through our online grants management portal. Please note that we use this letter to determine whether or not you meet our funding criteria. If you do meet the criteria, we will send you a follow-up email detailing the next step in the application process. Without this email—and without the Letter of Intent that prompts it—you will be unable to apply for a grant.
Are organizations outside Black Hawk County eligible for grants?
The primary funding focus is Black Hawk County. We also consider requests from Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy and Tama counties. Projects outside of Black Hawk County are REQUIRED to first submit funding requests to their local, county foundation. Outside county project applicants are urged to contact the office prior to submitting the application.
How much money has been awarded to projects in the Cedar Valley?
Through April 2016, Black Hawk County Gaming Association has committed $334,264,809 to 375 different projects located in 46 communities in the Cedar Valley.
Who is eligible to apply for a grant?
Groups applying for grants must fit into one of three categories:
- Public agencies
- Educational organizations
- Not-for-profit organizations with 501c(3) determination from the Internal Revenue Service.
How many dollars does BHCGA have to distribute each year?
That can vary. The Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo sends us distributions on a weekly basis. At the end of each quarter, the Board of Directors reviews how much we received, and then makes a recommendation on how much we should award in grants. In general, we try to keep the income and distribution even. We only keep enough to meet our own expenses and obligations.
Last Fiscal Year, BHCGA received $5.2 Million from the Isle to be used for eligible projects.
Does Black Hawk County Gaming Association fund Operating Costs?
Yes, but not for consecutive years. Grant requests for new services or facilities suggests that future operating costs will occur when the project is completed. The grant application should disclose these expected costs and the means by which funding will be sustained.
BHCGA prefers funding for playground equipment available to the public or large groups rather than for limited client use such as day-care centers.
Property Tax Funded Vehicles
Requests for property tax funded vehicles greater than 50% will generally not be funded.
Broad Project Support
Grant applications are required to include the source of funds. The board prefers to fund projects that demonstrate having wide community support demonstrated by commitment of other funds.
Attached Foundation Support
If an applicant has an attached foundation, the board prefers projects that are supported by the 501c3 foundations. Foundation funding indicates support for the proposal and its importance to the organization. Please contact the office for further questions. 319-433-1153