Jul 21, 2023
Director of Communications
Growing Our Communities Through Matching Grants
“SUPPORT LOCAL” has become a common phrase in Iowa and around our country. Mostly, it refers to spending your dollars in small communities and locally owned retail businesses. At Key Cooperative, supporting local economies is and has always been part of our identity. We are your essential business partner.
Cooperatives are naturally community-minded for many reasons, but not because we’re required to be. We genuinely want to contribute to the sustainability of our communities, and that desire often results in supporting local businesses and organizations. For Key Cooperative, concern for community means encouraging our team to play an active role in economic development, volunteering our time and talents and financially investing in community projects.
With locations in 13 communities, Key employees and Board members have a tremendous opportunity to make an impact. To do so, we've leaned on our partners at the Land O'Lakes Foundation. Thanks to our relationship with a regional cooperative, Land O'Lakes offers Key a dollar-for-dollar match on grants that we turn into local gifts. These grants are classified into two categories: community- or hunger-related grants. Key has the full responsibility of selecting which projects we wish to support.
"Land O'Lakes has a longstanding tradition of utilizing our Foundation to invest in rural communities," said Kevin Hinders of Land O'Lakes. "Our local retail and cooperative members know the needs of their communities best, and with them we can make a much greater impact than we could alone."
"Key Cooperative has a great history of investing in hunger relief and many other needs of the communities they operate in, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with them," he continued. "The agriculture industry needs rural America to thrive and provide resources to the farmers and farm laborers who live in the area."
Concern for community has always been at the heart of Key's identity. As producers of food, we often gravitate toward projects that feed the most people."We value our local food pantries and banks, meal assistance programs and youth after-school programs," said Key Cooperative General Manager Boyd Brodie. "The need is great. Thankfully, we have the Land O'Lakes funding to leverage along with Key Cooperative donation dollars to help lessen the burden of hunger in our communities."
Key's matching grant program receives dozens of applications each year. We're proud to say that public services such as fire, EMS and law enforcement as well as education and community development projects often take the top honors in our community category. After all, those are the gifts that keep on giving back to our communities, day after day!
New Sharon Child Care and Preschool ($2,000)
The center will utilize their grant to purchase a new security system, which is crucial to maintaining the safety and security of the children and staff. Pictured: Key Cooperative New Sharon Location Manager Kevin Franje (left) and Agronomist Alex Fynaardt (right) presented the matching grant to Director Regina Salsman and Board President Jess Tokle (center).
New Sharon Fire and Rescue Association ($1,600)
The association will use the funds to replace a 25+-year-old air compressor system. The current 60-gallon air compressor is used as a shore line air supply to plug into their primary trucks. It’s also used to pump up tires. The new compressor and air dryer will help keep the main station lines in good condition and save wear and tear on the truck air dryers. Pictured: Kevin Franje (left) presented the grant to Assistant Chief Brad Latcham and Gary Strobel.
North Mahaska FFA ($1,800)
The class currently has some virtual reality headsets, but they would like to have more so students can all use them at the same time. This innovative style of learning introduces students to new animal science curriculum, where they are able to see animal organs and bone placement. Additionally, the class will use the headsets for natural resources and plant science curriculum. Pictured: Kevin Franje (left) presented the grant to Ms. Miranda Johnson and the 2023–2024 officers of the North Mahaska FFA.
United Community PTO Backpack Buddies ($1,000)
The United Community PTO Backpack Buddies program supports over 30 children each weekend with meals and snacks. The program recently added a food pantry to further supplement families. Pictured: PTO President Maggi Butler and Principal Elyse Brimeyer received the matching grant from Key Cooperative CFO Stacey Webster (left to right).
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