Spotlight FY21

Spotlight on Friends of the Family

October 2021

Friends of the Family

Project: Ending Homelessness in Black Hawk County

Award: $893,000

Social Determinant of Health: Economic Stability

“We are so grateful for the opportunity that the Otto Schoitz Foundation has entrusted Friends of the Family with to be the lead agency in creating a community partnership with other housing and service providers to end homelessness here in Black Hawk County. That trust has allowed us to dream in ways we never have before and to have an impact that could affect the Cedar Valley for decades to come.”
Ben Brustkern, Friends of the Family Executive Director

A three-year award to Friends of the Family will enable the organization to develop, staff and lead a collective team of support agencies to systemically address homelessness in Black Hawk County. Securing safe and stable housing for those experiencing homelessness is fundamental to improving one's quality of life. It is noted that most minority groups in the United States experience homelessness at higher rates than non-minority groups, and therefore make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population. In 2019 in Black Hawk County, although Black/African American residents make up 10 percent of the general population, they comprised more than 44 percent of the homeless population. Through this grant, Otto Schoitz Foundation is committing to explore the root causes of homelessness and its outsize impact on vulnerable populations in our community. 

Grin and Grow Childcare Center

October 2021

Grin and Grow Child Care Center

Project: Child Care and Education for the Working Poor and At-Risk Families

Award: $80,000

Social Determinant of Health: Education

"There is not a big enough thank you I could give to the Otto Schoitz Foundation for its support during this last year. With this support you have invested in families. These are investments that will provide the children we serve with the opportunities they deserve. These investments will also provide a sense of trust to families that we will not only provide affordable care for their children, but also safe, reliable, educational, and nurturing care."
Ed Gruenwald, Grin and Grow Director

Grin and Grow is a non-profit agency offering quality Early Childhood services for low income families. Founded by the Junior League in 1943, Grin and Grow seeks to provide affordable child care to working poor and at-risk families in our community through a patchwork of funding sources that includes state child care assistance, preschool and at-risk funding and local grants. Grin and Grow is the largest full-day, full-year child care provider in the metro area that serves the working poor. Lack of access to child care remains a barrier in Black Hawk County. Grin and Grow seeks to remove that barrier for working-class families in our community. Grin and Grow is an organization Otto Schoitz Foundation has funded for several grant cycles.  

Spotlight on Riverview Center

October 2021


Riverview Center


Project: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program for Standardized Health Systems Response

Award: $9,475                                  

Social Determinant of Health: Health and Health Care

"The Otto Schoitz Foundation is a much needed nexus in the community. The partnerships made possible through their backing change the trajectory of so many people's lives. With their support, survivors of sexual assault have the compassionate coordination between hospitals, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, law enforcement and Riverview Center advocates to receive the comprehensive services they deserve, 24/7." 
Joey Taylor, Riverview Center Executive Director

Riverview Center provides free, confidential, client-centered crisis intervention and prevention for child, teen and adult sexual assault survivors and families in Black Hawk county. This grant award supports Riverview's coordinated Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in its first full year of operation. This program ensures that sexual assault survivors of all ages have immediate access to coordinated crisis services including a specially trained SANE for proper evidence collection. Riverview Center is committed to building communities free from violence. 

Spotlight on Hawkeye Community College

October 2021

Project: Hawkeye's Grundy Hall Renovation 

Award: $500,000                          

Social Determinant of Health: Education

"Our partnership with the Otto Schoitz Foundation will allow Hawkeye to expand access to future healthcare workers critically needed and vital for the health and economic well-being of the Cedar Valley region." 
Dr. Todd Holcomb, President, Hawkeye Community College

The investment in Hawkeye Community College’s state-of-the-art Health Sciences building will allow the College to significantly improve access to healthcare education. The $21 million renovation of Grundy Hall will create a high-tech, high-touch, and high-quality experiential learning center with the capacity to serve 3,300 students. With a June 2023 completion date, Grundy Hall will be redesigned from the “ground up” to anticipate and meet the future science and healthcare needs of the Cedar Valley. 

Spotlight on 24/7 Black Leadership Advancement Consortium

October 2021

24/7 Black

Project: Black Business and Entrepreneurship Accelerator 

Award: $50,000                  

Social Determinant of Health: Economic Stability

"24/7 BLAC is honored to have received support from the Otto Schoitz Foundation to continue to build resilience and sustainability for our BIPOC business owners. These funds will provide critical education and resources to help our small business owners not only sustain but for some, begin to scale, even during the pandemic. We are eternally grateful for this founding support and looking forward to a continued partnership." 
Joy Briscoe, 24/7 BLAC Executive Director

24/7 Black Leadership Advancement Consortium aims to increase personal and professional development; amplify leadership and growth strategies; create wealth and financial empowerment; and build networks of influence to address disparities faced by African American-owned businesses. Currently serving its third cohort of participants, the 24/7 Black Business Accelerator functions as a collaborative initiative with Grow Cedar Valley, University of Northern Iowa Business and Community Services, The Iowa Center for Opportunity Resources & Equity, and Red Cedar. Through this collaborative, each partner brings experience in entrepreneurial and small-business assistance programs to address the challenges faced by participants including the need for access to capital, mentorship and comprehensive education. 

Spotlight on Iowa Legal Aid

October 2021

Project: Parent Representation Project

Award: $40,000                  

Social Determinant of Health: Social and Community Context

"The Otto Schoitz Foundation is an important partner in support of our Parent Representation Project in Black Hawk County. Foundation support has always been vitally important and especially so during this difficult time of Covid-19." Iowa Legal Aid

Iowa Legal Aid, a statewide organization governed by a board that includes clients and significant lived experience, has been providing free civil legal services to low-income Iowans for more than 40 years.The Parent Representation Project provides free legal and supportive services to custodial parents involved in or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile court system with the goal to keep children in a stable family setting. The primary goal of the project is to provide parents with the necessary tools they need to resolve the issues that led their family to come to the attention of DHS, to prevent re-abuse of children and re-entry of the family into the system. The project team includes an attorney, social worker, and parent advocate. Attorneys resolve the legal issues that impact family stability. The social worker seeks out needed non-legal services for the parents. The parent advocate talks to parents from the perspective of a parent who was in the juvenile system and had real-life success in resolving their issues to keep their family together. The parent advocate also provides direct support when a parent needs to change behaviors in order to effectively parent and avoid or remove DHS involvement.

Appreciation and Recognition of

Mr. Robert W. Petersen and Mrs. Cathy Young

September 2021


As founding members of the Otto Schoitz Foundation, Mr. Bob Petersen and Mrs. Cathy Young have provided outstanding leadership and guidance. During the formation of the Foundation, Mr. Petersen and Mrs. Young were exceptionally generous of their time, attention and wisdom.

Mr. Dennis D. ClarkMr. Bob Petersen has a deep commitment to serving the people of Waterloo. In addition, his financial acumen has specifically benefited the Otto Schoitz Foundation Finance Committee. That, coupled with his community and economic development expertise, has greatly advanced the Otto Schoitz Foundation's mission. 



Mrs. Donna Nelson

Mrs. Cathy Young has dedicated much of her life to serving others. Her community experience, collaborative guidance and laborious hours devoted as a member of the Distribution and Bylaws Committees has considerably enhanced the Foundation's mission. 




Mr. Petersen and Mrs. Youngs' public service have offered unwavering dedication to the health and vitality of Waterloo and the Cedar Valley. Because of their wisdom, loyalty, contributions and dedication to improve the quality of life for all residents, the Cedar Valley community has prospered. They have served faithfully and with honor and distinction. 

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

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