Funding Guidelines

The Black Hawk County Gaming Association (BHCGA) is interested in awarding grants that will make the Cedar Valley a stronger, better place to live, work, and play. 

Our board prefers to receive requests for the following types of projects:

- Capital improvements that contribute to better cities, neighborhoods, and inclusive spaces
- Capacity-building plans that help organizations build stronger skills, processes, and resources to better serve the Cedar Valley
- Collaborative approaches that align with community initiatives

Application Guidelines: All letters of intent and applications are only accepted through our online application system. Applications are due at 5:00 PM on the date listed for each grant cycle. 

Grant Cycles Schedule

Qualifications for Applicants: Applicants must be a governmental entity or nonprofit with a valid 501(c)3 or 501(c)19 status under the US IRS Code. The applicant’s nonprofit status will be verified through GuideStar or a Determination Letter through the IRS. Applicants are not allowed to share or borrow nonprofit status from another organization. No distribution will be granted to any organization that has an employee, officer, or director who is a member of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

State Requirements: Since the Black Hawk County Gaming Association is a qualified sponsored organization, or QSO, we are subject to rules and regulations set forth by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Please understand this means sometimes we require additional documentation or information. Funding Criteria: Applicants must be in Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, and Tama counties. However, our primary focus area is Black Hawk County, as it is home to the Isle Casino. A maximum of 10% of funds can be allocated to the 7 remaining counties, which is approximately $300,000 total each year.

Requests that will NOT be Considered:

-Endowment funds
-Political causes, candidate, or lobbying efforts
-Individuals, including scholarships, fellowships, or personal benefits
-Religious workshops, education, or proselytizing
-Debt incurred or purchases made prior to the award date
-Capital requests of more than 50% of the total project budget
-For-profit organizations or organizations using a fiscal sponsor

Recommended Criteria to Strengthen Proposal:

-Demonstrate a community need
-Provide letters of support and/or resolutions (required if a government agency)
-Highlight collaborative initiatives
-Apply at the right time (typically this is when significant funding is committed) 
-Be realistic with the project timeline (most grant deadlines are within one year but we understand that doesn't fit every project)
-Meet with staff if applying for more than $100,000 (this is a requirement!)
-If the project is outside of Black Hawk County, apply through the local community foundation prior to submitting an LOI
-Include contractor quotes and artist renderings with the application for all capital projects

For questions on the application process, please contact our office:

Emily Hanson, Executive Director: [email protected]
Holly Althof, Project Coordinator: [email protected]
Office phone: 319-433-1153

BHCGA will not distribute to any organization that has an employee, officer, or director who is a member of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.


114 E. 4th St, Ste 300
Waterloo, IA 50703
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