Iowa nonprofits could lose federal funding with elimination of committees

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(ABC 6 News) – If Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds gets her way, nonprofits could be hit hard.

In 2021, the AmeriCorps program provided Iowa with thousands of volunteers and millions of dollars to nonprofits, but the organization requires states to have a commission in place to direct the federal funding it gives out.

The committee that does that in Iowa is on the chopping block.

“We didn’t know it was on the table,” Steven Schulz, President of North Iowa Area Community College said.

Dozens of committees could be eliminated as part of the governor’s plan to make Iowa’s government smaller. If AmeriCorps funding disappears, there would be a ripple effect. The retired service volunteers program at NIACC would lose more than $180,000. Their volunteers read to kids and helped with emergency calls during COVID.

“About 350 volunteers annually and about 8,500 hours that go to a variety of things,” Schulz said.

But Schulz isn’t overly concerned just yet.

“I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that, I have some confidence that once the impact is understood at the legislative level, this is a commission that will remain in place,” said Schulz.

Habitat for Humanity doesn’t rely on AmeriCorps funding, but as a nonprofit itself, it does understand the impact losing funding can have.

“Now with the cost of construction being so high, all the dollars that we can get really make a difference. So we do combine some federal, and state, and local funding together to make projects like this happen,” Melissa Schoneberg, the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in North Central Iowa said.

Both hope the governor gets a better understanding of the broad impact this move could have.

No official decision has been made at the moment.

The Iowa Board and Commissions Review Committee has until the end of the month to give the final recommendations to the governor and lawmakers.