Oct 8, 2021 - News

Prairie Meadows Casino relaunches several grant programs

Illustration of a charity ribbon made from a hundred dollar bill.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Prairie Meadows is allocating $4 million to dozens of central Iowa nonprofits this year after relaunching several of its grant programs, according to records obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The casino's timing is good. More than 76% of Iowa nonprofits took a financial hit linked with the pandemic, according to a University of Northern Iowa survey.

  • Prairie Meadows' allocations are bigger than last year's, but still below pre-pandemic levels when the group awarded 223 grants, totaling $6 million.

Driving the news: The casino's board last week approved $1.25 million in Community Betterment grants. It also approved $250,000 for 20 youth sports and recreational projects in central Iowa.

  • The announcements come after Prairie Meadows awarded up to $1 million for iconic projects, like the Des Moines Metro Opera, through its Legacy Grants program this summer.

State of play: The casino took a $75 million hit from its pandemic-driven closure for 90 days last year, Julie Stewart, Prairie Meadows' vice president of community relations, told us.

  • The grants they awarded last year focused on community needs, including $1 million to United Way of Central Iowa and $500K each to the Food Bank of Iowa and DMARC Food Pantry.

Of note: Prairie Meadows is organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which allows it to avoid federal taxes in exchange for its promotion of social welfare.

  • More than $2 billion in state taxes, grants and charitable donations have been paid by the casino since its 1989 launch.
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