State Parks of Iowa Fund

Iowa’s State Parks and Recreation Areas (managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and those managed locally) along with State Forest recreation facilities continue to see high levels of usage and low levels of funding.

To help alleviate funding issues and support conservation and facility improvements at Iowa's State Parks and Forests, INHF is supporting the establishment of the State Parks of Iowa Fund that will provide small grants to community created groups such as Friends Groups, Chambers of Commerce, youth groups and other service clubs. 

Four private citizens have led the effort so far: Gerald Schnepf, Mark Ackelson, Ann Raisch and Kevin Szcodronski. These individuals have established the State Parks of Iowa Fund within the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation. To date, they have raised $120,000 through grant funding and sales of the book Iowa's State Parks, A Century of Stewardship, 1920-2020

This fund will provide $6,000 annually in grants for groups supporting improvements to Iowa's State Parks. Both non-profit and non-charity groups will be considered.

Projects may include but aren't limited to:

  • Facility/structure improvements like providing fire rings or improving trails and bridges
  • Event support such as projectors for movie screenings
  • Supplies for outdoor recreation equipment
  • Conservation projects like purchasing and planting native shrubs, trees or prairie plants or wildlife maintenance and enhancement. 

You can apply for the grant by completing the PDF application here and emailing it to Abby Hade Terpstra, Director of Philanthropy, at As indicated on the application, you will need to submit several other documents with your completed application. 

How You Can Support the State Parks of Iowa Fund:

There are numerous ways you can support this fund, both financially and through other efforts. Here are just a few:

  • Donate or encourage those volunteers that have a like interest to make a donation to the fund.
  • Invite members of the committee to present or share information about the fund with interested groups.
  • Provide a public endorsement of this program and the fund.
  • Suggest leads to sources of funding to the committee to do the follow-up contacts or offer to assist in other ways.
  • Share the stories of the good work being done through this fun with those you know.