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Since 1988, the Okoboji Foundation has granted over $4.4M to 81 Lakes Community Non-profits for Vital Capital Projects.

The Okoboji Foundation separates grant applications into two request levels. Requests of $500-$24,999 are considered Community Need grants and requests $25,000 or more are Capacity Building requests. Grant applications are accepted from January 1st to March 1st each year. A committee, comprised of board members and other engaged community members, reviews each application and awards grants in late Spring. Additionally, students of the Youth In Philanthropy program of the Okoboji Foundation assist in grant review of the Community Need grants, awarding dollars they have raised throughout the school year.


Ducks Unlimited, Inc.


Project Wetlands for Iowa’s Wildlife and People

To acquire and restore up to nine wetlands and 140 acres of native grassland at the 159-acre Reed Farm in Dickinson County. The project will expand an area of protected contiguous wildlife habitat to 1,100 acres, provide recreational opportunities and protect water quality for residents of the Iowa Great Lakes area.

Dickinson County Trail Board


Tatanka Ska Trailhead

The Tatanka Ska Trailhead, with its ideal location, will be the focal point at the intersection of the rail trail and Spine Trail in Spirit Lake. The design is inspired by Native American beadwork, northwest Iowa’s prairie landscape and railroad elements that tie into the rail trail theme.

The trailhead will be an asset to the adjoining trails and the facilities will include restrooms, shaded areas with picnic tables and benches as well as a water fountain, bike workstation and charging station. 

Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County


Maser Monarch Lodge Outdoor Venue

The Maser Monarch Lodge rental facility was completed in the winter of 2020 and is now available for graduations, birthday parties, weddings, etc. The Outdoor Venue will serve as an outdoor celebration/educational area adjacent south of the lodge. This area will include a 16’ wide Gazebo and benches for the audience to observe while enjoying the outdoors aesthetics.

Dickinson County


Francis Sites Storm Water Wetland

Construction of an 8-acre storm-water wetland, storing the 50-year storm while safely bypassing the 100-year storm water through an emergency overflow spillway, resulting in improved water quality flowing to East Lake Okoboji. 

Pearson Lakes Art Center


Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre Updates

To complete upgrades to the Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre. Updates include replacing the sound system, replacing carpet in the green room, and replacing the aisle strip lighting for the safety of guests. These items are all original to the theatre and 19 years old.

Disaster Recovery Fund Grantees

Over $51,800 has been granted to the following: 

$15,500 – Bedell Family YMCA, Camp Foster

$2,410 – Dickinson County Fair Board

$6,500 – Historic Arnolds Park

$850 – Rock ‘n Roll Music Association

$4,000 – Lakes Area Hockey Association 

$8,800 – Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation 

$2,800 – Respite Angels

$9,000 – Voluntary Action Center

$2,000 – Well Food Pantry