Great Outdoors Foundation Announces $1M Gift from the Athene Charitable Foundation
May 11, 2021
The Great Outdoors Foundation, fiscal agent of the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium, is pleased to announce a $1 million commitment from the Athene Charitable Foundation. This pledge puts the total funding raised privately for the project at just under $25 million. The Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium includes leadership from Capital Crossroads, Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Great Outdoors Foundation.
Nearly 75 percent of the capital campaign is now complete, and Athene’s donation represents a key investment in some of the water quality and habitat restoration initiatives within the infrastructure and design of Central Iowa Water Trails. These funds will be used to support water quality efforts at each of the following access points:
- Harriet Street: wetland development, streambank restoration and habitat improvement.
- Birdland Marina: biofiltration system installation.
- Prospect Park: streambank restoration, pollinator habitat and native plant restoration.
- Scott Avenue: water quality education signage.
“Athene is committed to corporate social responsibility practices in the communities where we live and work. We are excited to partner with the Great Outdoors Foundation and Central Iowa Water Trails on these important water quality and habitat restoration initiatives,” said Grant Kvalheim, Chief Executive Officer and President of Athene USA. “Environmental stewardship is a key component of our corporate social responsibility initiatives and something we have incorporated into our West Des Moines campus via wetland restoration, water conservation and conscious landscaping. This donation is a natural extension to support similar efforts across our community.”
From its inception, Central Iowa Water Trails has aimed at creating synergy around improving water quality in Iowa. “The most effective strategy for moving the needle on water quality is through collaboration and community buy-in,” Hannah Inman, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Outdoors Foundation, the fundraising arm of Central Iowa Water Trails, said. “Support from partners like Athene demonstrates the value and priority our region is placing on improving our water.”
Already, investments in Central Iowa Water Trails are being used as in-kind support for grants that leverage additional federal funding for landowners and farmers to improve water quality through voluntary conservation practices on private land. So far, an additional $20 million in federal funding has been realized through two public-private partnerships co-led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance. Additionally, $3 million has been allocated to water quality solutions in the Central Iowa Water Trails BUILD Grant sites alone.
About Central Iowa Water Trails
The Central Iowa Water Trails project will connect more than 150 miles of water trails and 86 amenities throughout the region. This multi-year project is led by the Central Iowa Water Trails Consortium. The Consortium is supported by a coalition of regional organizations working together through Capital Crossroads, including Catch Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Great Outdoors Foundation, and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. For more information, visit centraliowawatertrails.org.