SIOUX CITY | The United Way of Siouxland has donated grants totaling $100,000 to three nonprofit organizations as part of its new Funding Opportunity to Connect and Uplift Siouxland (FOCUS) initiative.

The program's purpose is to offer one-time grants, between $20,000 and $50,000, to eligible nonprofit organizations in Siouxland to provide support for their programs and initiatives.

The grant is an extension of the community impact model the United Way began implementing eight years ago.

"It is great to be a part of United Way during this exciting time. Our community is growing, and as it grows we need to respond to changing needs," said United Way board chair Bob Padmore, who is the city manager for Sioux City.

At a ceremony Wednesday, United Way awarded a $50,000 grant to Camp High Hopes and $25,000 grants to Iowa Legal Aid and Shesler House.

"We know that the more people we have working toward the same goal, the quicker we will be able to reach that goal," United Way of Siouxland President Heather Hennings said at a news conference Wednesday. "And the FOCUS grant will allow us to bring more helping hands to the table."

Camp High Hopes is a program which dedicates itself to youth and adults with special needs. The grant will be used to add a welcome center to its facility, which will in turn help the camp increase capabilities for programming and impact more families than before.

Iowa Legal Aid addresses the complex challenges low-income families face. The project involves a medical-legal partnership, where patients receive legal assistance to alleviate conditions affecting their health.

Shesler House assists local women with chronic illnesses to gain self-sufficiency and stability. Last year, 90 percent of residents transitioned into permanent housing and remain self-reliant.

Grant recipients will report their results to the United Way for two years, and then may apply to be a formal partner.  

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