Spotlight on Cedar Trails Partnership

October 2020

Cedar Trails Partnership


Project: Cedar Valley Lake Trail Reconstruction

Award: $20,000

Social Determinant of Health: Neighborhood and Built Environment

The Cedar Trails Partnership works to conserve and enhance the natural resource, improve the quality of life in our community and ensure successful legacy projects for future generations. This award from the Otto Schoitz Foundation will help support the reconstruction of 1.5 miles of the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail that has repeatedly been damaged by flooding. Once complete, this project will reopen and improve the trail connection between Waterloo and Cedar Falls including widening the path to better accommodate visitors. The newly constructed trail segment is anticipated to last 30+ years and benefit over 55,000 people in the first year alone. In this time of great need for social distancing, opportunities to be outdoors are more important than ever before and the trails offer a free resource for all community members to stay active, healthy and happy.

Spotlight on Catholic Charities

October 2020

Catholic Charities Spotlight


Project: Immigration Legal Services

Award: $20,000

Social Determinant of Health: Social and Community Context

Catholic Charities is a social service organization focused on reducing poverty, strengthening families and empowering communities. Funding from the Otto Schoitz Foundation is helping to support their Immigration Legal Services program. This program is available to all immigrants, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, economic or legal status. Through free consultations and affordable ongoing legal support, Catholic Charities helps immigrants better understand their rights and legal options, especially in relation to reuniting families and helping them build towards self-sufficiency in the local community. They currently serve over 130 clients in the Cedar Valley who are originally from Burma, Mexico, Congo and Liberia. A few of the many legal services they provide include assistance obtaining permanent residency, becoming a United States citizen, and/or receiving a family visa.

Spotlight on SuccessLink

October 2020

SuccessLink Spotlight


Project: Success Street Coordination and Outreach

Award: $35,000                                  

Social Determinant of Health: Health and Health Care

SuccessLink has over a 25-year history of linking local youth with supportive health and social services. Funding from the Otto Schoitz Foundation will support Success Street, their school-based health center program designed to ensure students are able to connect with a comprehensive menu of health services including mental health, substance abuse, adolescent sexual health and more. By operating Success Street from within the Waterloo Community Schools, many low-resource students receive services that would otherwise be difficult to access. Since 1998, students receiving services at Success Street sites have increased their grade point averages, reduced behavior referrals and reduced absences. Today SuccessLink coordinates over 26 area service providers in delivering services via Success Street – services that are expected to impact over 1,800 K-12 students this year alone.

Spotlight on Exceptional Persons Inc.

October 2020

EPI Spotlight


Project: Employment Services                                                    

Award: $15,000                          

Social Determinant of Health: Economic Stability

Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI) is a social service agency fostering active community participation of people with developmental and other related disabilities while respecting and encouraging their preferences and choices. This award from the Otto Schoitz Foundation will help support their Employment Services program- a program that supports persons with disabilities in obtaining employment in the general workforce. Services include career exploration, resume building, job interview preparation, and the support necessary to on-board and maintain a community job. Of their clients who enter the general workforce last year, over 90% have remained competitively employed. Within the next year, EPI anticipates that the Employment Service program will serve 120 individuals ages 18-75 who have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, brain injury, mental illness, or other physical or cognitive disability.

Spotlight on EMBARC

October 2020

EMBARC Spotlight


Project: Youth Navigator Recovery and Resiliency Program

Award: $67,000                  

Social Determinant of Health: Education

As Iowa’s first refugee-led social service organization, EMBARC offers support and resources for the refugee community through advocacy, education and community development engagement. With support from the Otto Schoitz Foundation, EMBARC’s Youth Navigator program will focus on recovery and resilience during the ongoing public health crisis presented by COVID-19. Youth leaders will be trained in supporting and empowering other at-risk youth to improve refugee and immigrant families’ access to information, online learning and basic resources. Through digital literacy training, mentorship, service-learning and family engagement, these Youth Navigators will be able to serve over 400 refugee and immigrant families in Waterloo, predominantly from Burma and the Congo. This type of peer to peer engagement is crucial for refugee and immigrant community members who, even in normal times, experience disproportionate communication and resources barriers.

Appreciation and Recognition of

Mr. Dennis D. Clark and Mrs. Donna Nelson

September 2020


Two esteemed and valued members of the Otto Schoitz Foundation Board of Trustees are ending their governing terms. 

Mr. Dennis D. ClarkServing as the inaugural Chairperson of the Otto Schoitz Foundation board, Mr. Dennis D. Clark’s tireless work and leadership has been paramount in the creation and in all organizational matters of the Foundation. His judgment pertaining to Otto Schoitz Foundation has been insightful and visionary and his decisions have always been based upon the furtherance of the organization’s mission. Mr. Clark has served faithfully and with honor and distinction. 

Mrs. Donna Nelson

Mrs. Donna Nelson has served on countless boards, providing outstanding leadership and guidance, including as a founding member on the Otto Schoitz Foundation Board of Trustees. She has served faithfully and with honor and distinction. Mrs. Nelson’s public service has offered an unwavering dedication to the health and vitality of Waterloo and the Cedar Valley.

Mr. Dennis Clark and Mrs. Donna Nelson have served the Cedar Valley for decades, sharing their wisdom, leadership, loyalty, contributions and dedication to improve the quality of life for all residents.  Maintaining the highest professional ethics at all times, Mr. Clark and Mrs. Nelson have been most generous of their time and energy so that Otto Schoitz Foundation may continue to improve the health and wellbeing throughout the Cedar Valley in the years to come. 

It is with the deepest appreciation, that we extend our well wishes and best personal regards to Mr. Clark and Mrs. Nelson.


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