Community foundations are a familiar form of philanthropy in larger cities, but Pella was a rarity among smaller communities when in 1991 community leaders, aware of the need for support for the community's non-profit agencies and sensitive to the desire of potential donors to provide this support, established the Pella Community Foundation. The first grants were made in 1993 and additional grants have been made every year since totally more than $872,000.

Noteworthy developments in recent years:

  • A number of people have  provided for the Foundation in their estate planning.

  • Formal adjunct relationships have been maintained with two organizations started by the Foundation whose goals are closely related :  the Council for Educational Excellence, which  supports local teaches and Dollars for Scholars, a community scholarship program for all local high school graduates who continues their studies.

  • Special counsel and financial support was provided to initiate and establish the Marion County Community Foundation.

  • An annual fund drive was initiated with excellent results in raising both endow and “pass-through” gifts.

  • The “Endow Iowa”program provided a strong incentive for donors to establish permanent endowments.

  • The Foundation received the seal of compliance with the National Standards for U.S Community Foundations.

  • In 2016, Grow Pella was developed and introduced. This program allows owners of farmland to gift their land to the Pella Community Foundation who commits to retaining the farmland, keep it in production for many years and allows the donor to select charities which will benefit from the farm income.

  • In 2019 the grants total exceeded $100,000 and the first Impact grant of $25,000 was awarded.