Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation and the grant process. Check back often as we will be adding to this list.


How do I save a grant application to my computer?

Within your grant application, click on the button, “Application Packet”.  Click on “Save As”.  On your computer, select the folder and create a file name for this application.  Click “Save”.

Why are only those groups eligible?

PACGDC has been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. In order to maintain that status, we must adhere to IRS regulations regarding how charitable funds are distributed.

Can a non-profit organization that has 501(c) status with a numerical classification other than (3) apply for a grant? (NOTE: Churches are not eligible to apply.)

Yes.  A non-profit organization that has a 501(c) status other than (3) may apply for a grant IF it applies through a sponsoring organization that DOES have the 501(c)3 classification, or IS a governmental entity, or educational institution.  Examples of these sponsoring organizations include the County Board of Supervisors, City Council, or local School Board.

Why do school mini-grants have to be approved by school boards?

This procedure has been put in place to allow local school boards to retain their decision-making authority. Other communities that distribute gaming funds recommended this procedure to us. This process ensures that the school approves of the project.  Each school district within Palo Alto County is eligible to apply for one mini-grant per district for one project.

Why do you require matching funds to be eligible?

PACGDC believes that requiring matching funds will help us leverage existing community resources and enable us to fund more projects. This source of revenue should not replace all existing forms of fundraising that county organizations have been doing successfully for years. These funds should help us leverage organizations’ efforts and achieve our mission to strengthen our communities for future generations by creating partnerships, leveraging resources, and being a catalyst in identifying and supporting community needs.

What are the criteria for getting a grant approved?

The criteria for grant selection include the following:  positive impact on the community; demonstrated capacity of the applicant to implement the stated objectives; demonstrated networking, cooperation, and partnerships with other entities, organizations and local governments; and evidence of community need.  Please also refer to the Guidelines For Distribution of Funds listed on the Grants page of this website.

When are grants going to be awarded?

The grants are usually awarded the 1st Friday evening in March.

Will PACGDC fund applications that request long term funding over a period of multiple years?

At this time, we cannot accurately predict future revenues and it would not be prudent to create obligations for the future. Grants made in this cycle will be for a one year period only. Organizations who anticipate needing money again in the future will need to apply again in the next cycle.

Who is eligible to apply for a grant?

Groups must fit into one of three categories to apply. They must be an educational institution, a governmental body, or a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) recognition from the IRS. Groups supporting these types of organizations can make application through the qualifying organization. For example, a little league program might make an application through a city (governmental body) via the Parks & Recreation program. This is only an example. Many other organizations may be eligible to apply through a qualified organization if that qualified organization is willing to let them do so.

What if my group does not fit into any of those categories?

We suggest you consider partnering with another group that does meet the criteria. Networks, partnering, and cooperation among community groups is strongly encouraged. We believe this will strengthen the quality of the applications and improve the chances of successful projects.

Why do city mini-grants have to be approved by the city council?

This procedure has been put in place to allow local cities to retain their decision-making authority. Other communities that distribute gaming funds recommended this procedure to us. This process ensures that the city approves of the projects.  Each city within Palo Alto County is eligible to apply for one mini-grant project per city.  The City of Emmetsburg is eligible to apply for three mini-grants for three separate projects.

Do funds that have been applied for from organizations other than PACGDC, but not yet received, count in the matching funds requirement?

It is philosophically important to PACGDC to leverage matching funds. The best way of creating ownership and accountability in any program or project is to utilize group funds as matching funding. At the same time, we recognize that some of the matching funds may need to come from other grant sources. These funds can be included in the application under the section “Matching Funds Available.”  Please list other grant award sources and/or make a notation following the listing stating that the grant is applied for but has not been received to date.  In any such case where PACGDC awards a grant to an organization with these circumstances, the grant agreement with that group will indicate that no PACGDC funds will be released until written verification is received that the other funds have been awarded. This ensures that projects have all the funding needed to proceed.

Does the order in which applications are received have an impact on funding?

No. All applications submitted by the deadline will be considered equally.

When will the money you have designated for the communities be made available to them? Are there any requirements or limits on that money?

Cities will receive their per capita & city award allocations in March. Cities will have to sign an agreement regarding the use of the funds and file an annual report on how the funds were used. There are some limitations on how funds can be used. No funds can go toward political causes, to individuals, to fund operating expenses or operating deficits, for fundraising expenses, etc. The annual report is a simple three page form. The Cities Final Grant Report form can be accessed from our website.

Are organizations outside of Palo Alto County eligible for grants?

Generally, no. The State of Iowa has made gaming funds available to all counties through the county foundation process.  The exception may be to an organization that is based out of the county, but serves residents of the county or surrounding areas for the purposes of the grant.

If we are an organization applying for funds through a governmental body (such as a library applying through a city government) what should we enter where it asks for “APPLICANT ORGANIZATION NAME”?

The “Applicant Organization Name” should indicate the name of the eligible department of the governmental institution. For example, if a library is applying through a city government, the APPLICANT ORGANIZATION NAME would be “City of XYZ - Local Library.”   The SPONSOR would be “City of XYZ.”  It is important that all applications be in the name of an eligible organization for IRS purposes. This example cited is just one of many types of organizations that might be sponsored through another eligible institution. The eligible institution must be referenced on the application in all cases.

How do I apply for a grant?

You must apply using the grant application form from PACGDC. The application is available on the Grants page of our website.  Click on the link, “APPLY HERE – Available only mid-Oct – Dec 31st annually”.

The application must be completed in its entirety and submitted electronically by December 31st to be eligible for consideration.

Do in-kind gifts count in the matching funds requirement?

PACGDC recognizes how vital in-kind gifts are to many organizations. Volunteer work is essential and important. Any organization using in-kind gifts as part of their matching funds must make certain to detail each item and use only fair market values in putting a dollar value on in-kind gifts. In-kind gifts cannot be used for the entire match and will not be viewed as favorably as actual funds raised.  These should be listed under “Matching Funds Available – Other”.  In-kind gifts are limited to a maximum of 50% of the required matching funds.  Please note: Trade-In Value is not accepted as matching funds.

Will my organization be notified by PACGDC of receipt of our application?

Yes, once you’ve submitted your application electronically, the system will automatically generate an email to notify you of our receipt of your application.

Do cities have to spend their grant funds in one year?

Upon special request, a City may be allowed to retain grant funds.  This is determined on a case-by-case basis.  The City must submit a written extension request form by December 1st to PACGDC with a statement of general purpose for which grant funds will be used. If PACGDC approves the request to retain funds, the City must report to PACGDC on PACGDC’s report format. The report is due and must be postmarked no later than December 31st of each year. If grant funds are not used in the time period specified, all unused funds and interest will be returned to PACGDC.

Is there a requirement for PACGDC to retain a percentage of the funds each year?

No, there is no legal obligation to retain funds. There may be operational reasons to retain some portion of funds.  We are anxious to distribute the funds and have the citizens of the county and surrounding areas use them to build a stronger future for all of us.

Palo Alto County

Gaming Development Corporation

Schedule An Appointment

Emmetsburg, IA

P.O. Box 153
910 Broadway

Office Hours:

Tuesdays, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Or By Appointment