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
- Public, inclusive spaces
- New, innovative approaches
- Transformational, 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 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 6 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 workshop, education, or proselytizing
-Debt incurred or purchases made prior to the award date
-Funding requests of more than 50% of the total project budget

Recommended Criteria to Strengthen Proposal:

-Applicants in our service area outside of Black Hawk County should apply to their local community foundation for the same project prior to submitting a letter of intent.
-Government entities or nonprofits partnering with government entities should have a resolution or letter of support demonstrating commitment to the project from a member of the leadership team. Preference is given to applications that include financial support from the government entity.
-Requests for operational or personnel expenses are considered, with preferences given to projects that are new, innovative, or help build capacity. Applicants may not request multi-year, operating support.
-Applicants should adopt a collaborative funding approach. Additional sources of revenue should be well established and secured prior to submitting a letter of intent.
-Preference is given to requests that will be completed within one year of the award date.
-If the request includes capital improvements or construction, artist renderings and quotes are strongly encouraged.
-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.


425 Cedar St Suite 300A,
Waterloo, IA 50701
Copyright © 2023 Black Hawk County Gaming Association. All Rights Reserved.