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Okoboji Foundation


The Okoboji Foundation was started in 1988, by a group of dedicated lovers of The Lakes Region who wished to improve the quality of life of those who call this area home.

Originally named the University of Okoboji Foundation, Berkley Bedell served as the first Board Chairman. In 1989, the first grants were distributed by the foundation, after spending weeks seeking membership pledges from area entrepreneurs and generous individuals.

In 2006, the foundation changed its name to the Okoboji Foundation to establish the organization as a Community Foundation. Over $5.24 million has been granted to more than 80 different nonprofit agencies located around The Lakes since its inception and preserving the stories that make Iowa Great Lakes a place of local legends.

Today, the Okoboji Foundation is the center point of giving for vital capital projects. Current funding priorities focus on arts & culture, economic development, lake quality & environment, and outdoor experiences & recreation. It’s through the generosity of donors that the Okoboji Foundation continues to make a positive, lasting impact in the Lakes community.

Through the leadership and philanthropic vision of Berkely Bedell, initial membership contributions established the base for an organization that continues to create ripples of impact in the Iowa Great Lakes now and into the future.

Our Affiliation

The Okoboji Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. As an affiliate, the Okoboji Foundation benefits from cost-efficient, centralized professional services.