Receiving a $300,000 grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation (MACF) was, according to Camp Fire Heart of Iowa Executive Director Robert Reid, “a game changer—which is good!”
Naturally, receiving $300,000 is a revenue boost. However, when the foundation comes to the council and personally asks the council to apply—and then walks them through the application process—all that goodness becomes something great.
Among other social-serving goals, the foundation wants to expand opportunities for kids to attend camp—to reduce the barriers that keep them away.
According to their grant guidelines, MACF provides funding to support programs that address unmet needs; that give individuals and communities the tools to become self-sufficient; that will be sustainable after support ends, and that build on and strengthen strong relationships within communities. The foundation also focuses on environmental concerns. With an emphasis on issues Camp Fire Heart of Iowa advocates for every day, it is clear why the foundation paid them a visit and offered them funding.
Bob explained that MACF, which is expanding from its Minnesota roots into Iowa and other Midwestern states, seeks out organizations that align with the parameters of their mission. “They asked the hard, though right, questions,” explained Robert. The foundation wanted to know why youth come to camp. What stops them from coming? What messages do kids respond to?
In fact, a percentage of the $300,000 will be allocated to contract with a market research firm that will pursue answers to these basic drivers of camp attendance. Other funds will be directed to hiring a naturalist to bolster the Camp Hantesa nature programs. Two new outreach positions will also be staffed.
“Though we were surprised when we heard representatives from the MACF were coming to visit our council,” shared Bob, “when they arrived we had a good grasp of who they were and what they were trying to do. We were also very frank about our challenges.”
The conversation obviously went well.