The Endow Iowa tax credit program began in 2003 to capture a percentage of the state’s transfer of wealth to support Iowa communities now and in the future. Without question, the program has been a huge success and a model for growing community-based endowments that enable nonprofits to provide essential services.

However, its success has become its biggest challenge. Increases in charitable giving coupled with demand for credits have resulted in tax credits being expended earlier and earlier each year — often before the new year begins. Our state Legislature needs to invest in this program to deepen the impact of community-based philanthropy across Iowa.

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Nancy Van Milligen is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Learn more about the organization at

Kari McCann Boutell is president of the Iowa Council of Foundations, a statewide membership association of foundations and grantmaking organizations across Iowa. The ICoF’s mission is to strengthen and grow philanthropy in Iowa. Endow Iowa is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority in collaboration with the ICoF. Since 2004, the ICoF has served as the state’s Lead Philanthropic Entity.

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