Anamosa organizations thriving with Community Foundation support

The Anamosa Community Foundation has awarded three grants to Anamosa nonprofits focused on healthy youth, honoring veterans and historic preservation. The Anamosa Community Foundation has awarded nearly $70,000 in grants since 2005. “We are excited to partner with local organizations to improve quality of life for everyone in Anamosa,” say members of the Anamosa Community Foundation advisory board. Board members Dick Dearborn and Bob and Charlene George visited all three grant sites in October to present certificates and learn more about each project. 

Running Raider Marathon Club - $2,000

In 2014, Heather and Nic Weers dreamed up the Running Raider Marathon Club at their kitchen table. The goal was to provide a free, safe, healthy activity for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, regardless of physical ability or socioeconomic status. Since then, the group has grown from 40 to 270 participants and the Weers’ have been featured on KCRG and at a national volunteer event in Washington, D.C.

“While teaching youth how to run a mile is the main objective, this club teaches students how to turn fear or uncertainty into confidence. The confidence gained not only helps physically, but also in the classroom,” says Nic. “We’ve heard from many Anamosa teachers who encourage their students to participate in this club.” Studies show physical activity can improve mental health by decreasing symptoms of depression, anxiety, pain and loneliness, as well as by improving focus, school performance, sleep and energy levels. 

Students run one mile a day before school for 26 days to complete their marathon. Progress is measured, recorded and shared. The grant from the Community Foundation supports the purchase of technology that keeps time for each runner and transmits the data to a laptop so the Weers’ don’t have keep track manually. “This is going to be a lifesaver,” says Nic. “It will give me the opportunity to coach, and Heather the opportunity to support the kids before and after the run.” 

Jones County Freedom Rock - $1,500

In August, Iowa artist Bubba Sorensen completed one of the most elaborate editions of his Freedom Rock series. The large, painted boulder stands in Stone City and depicts Grant Wood, Dillon’s Furrow, and 11 local veterans. Dennis Mulford is leading efforts to continue developing the area to include a sidewalk, lighting, security, flags, and three kiosks that describe the mural’s local ties. The grant from the Foundation will support this enhancement of the site.

Mulford emphasizes the impact of community support for the project. The land and rock were donated, the artist’s hotel stay was paid for, and community members are making individual gifts in honor of their own loved ones. “Number one, it’s a moving memorial to veterans,” he says. “Number two, it’s driving tourism. People are traveling from all over to all 99 counties as part of the Freedom Rock Tour. We appreciate all the support.” 

Grant Wood Art Gallery - $3,000

The Grant Wood Art Gallery promotes the arts and preserves the heritage of Grant Wood in Anamosa, while educating local students and tourists about the famous artist, who was an Anamosa resident. The organization is completely volunteer-driven.

“Part of our work is preserving our historic building,” says volunteer Delores Rickels. Grant Wood Art Gallery is located at 124 E. Main Street in a former bank building which was constructed in 1907. “As we have worked to return the building to its original appearance, we uncovered beautiful leaded glass windows. Unfortunately, the panes are buckling and in danger of collapsing if we do not get professional assistance to refurbish them.” The grant from the Foundation will help with necessary repairs for the windows. 

This project is one of many in the community’s goal of reviving its Main Street to help Anamosa thrive. 

Learn more about the Anamosa Community Foundation at