R.J. McElroy loved stories.  He used the radio and television to help our community  hear important stories.

At the McElroy Trust we love stories too.  We’ll use this page to share some of the stories of the great work of our grantees.  If you’re a grantee, and you’d like to see your story here, give us a call! We’d love to share.


November 2017:  Congratulations to the Lansing Lions Club for completion of their new playground.  The McElroy Trust is proud to help make this project a reality.


November 2016 Grant Feature:

Inclusion Connection’s Project Search helps young people find their way to meaningful employment.  Young people benefit and so do employers like Allen Hospital.  In the end our community benefits by including everyone’s talent!  Congratulations to Waterloo Community Schools, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unity Point and Inclusion Connection for launching this successful new pilot.



Upper Midwest Board of Governors Emmy® AwardSeptember 30, 2016:  At the McElroy Trust, we love honoring teachers!  We are humbled to announce that we’ll be honored for honoring teachers! (Maybe we’ll inspire a few other communities to do the same.)  In late October, the R.J. McElroy Trust and KWWL-TV will receive a Regional Emmy Award for the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching.

“The National Academy of Television Arts & Science (NATAS) – Upper Midwest Chapter Board of Governors Award is the most prestigious Regional Emmy® Award in our chapter.  It is voted on by solely by the board.  The Governor’s Emmy® Award honors visionary, long-standing relationships that creatively and effectively use corporate, non-profit and broadcast resources to showcase the power of broadcasting to advance a mission or message. The award is presented to a broadcaster, advertiser or company, as well as a non-profit organization, each of whom has contributed to forward a cause.”

The Gold Star: Inspiring a generation of students:  KWWL-TV & the R.J. McElroy Trust



August Grant Highlight:  McGregor and Marquette are scenic places to view the Mississippi River, and spectacular locations to take in autumn leaves.  McGregor and Marquette are also a great home for artists.

The McElroy Trust funds afterschool programs at the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts.  Each spring, the art center and shop on Main Street in McGregor bustles with dozens of young artists who explore painting, sculpture, paper mache and fabric craft.  Funding from the McElroy Trust supports an art teacher and supplies.  A partnership with the MFL-MarMac School District makes sure that students have transportation to the Center.  Of course, like many great projects, volunteers help bring all of the pieces together and support the artists.

Congratulations to the Art Center for this great project.  The McElroy Trust is proud to be involved.

June Grant Highlight:  Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center in Allamakee county Under Construction


The $3.6 million Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center will take education beyond the classroom and into the outdoors. Educational programs will provide opportunities for students to learn about conserving and protecting natural resources, and nearly two floors of interpretive and dimensional displays will show students the history of their county and the Driftless Area. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 youth from the surrounding area will visit the education center annually.

Last month, the RJ McElroy Trust awarded the project a $250,000 challenge grant and an additional $50,000 for successfully completing the challenge for a total gift of $300,000 toward the capital campaign. Eight area banks and their stakeholders raised $250,000 to meet the Trust’s challenge for ACCF to be awarded the matching grant.  Local leaders have raised $3.3 of their $3.6 million goal.


May grant highlight:   What would you do with 1,324 days?  

At Irving School in Waterloo in 1,324 days kids are learning to read and multiply.  They are diving into  history and conducting science experiments.  They are learning how to write their own story, and they’re learning to be Irving-Star-Leaders!

Through the 28th of April (the 147th day of school), Irving students attended 1,324 more days of school this year than they did through the 147th day of school last year! 

That’s an average of NINE more students in the building every day!  On average each student in the building has attended nearly THREE more days of school this year!


Less absences also means that fewer students are at risk of becoming chronically absent (missing 10% of school days).  Research shows that children who are chronically absent even in early grades are more likely to struggle with reading and less likely to finish high school.

Congratulations to the teachers, staff and leaders of Irving School.  We also want to give a pat on the back to the family members and parents who help make sure that their students are at school and ready to learn every day!  THANK YOU!

The McElroy Trust is proud to have supported Irving School’s work to reduce student absences in two ways:
(1) The Trust supported a book give-away as a way to improve attendance on Leap Day (the first Monday back to school after a long weekend).  On that day there were only 8 students absent, compared to 23 students on the same day of the school year in 2015.

(2) Because of the McElroy Trust’s connection to both the Iowa Council of Foundations and the Cedar Valley Campaign for Grade Level Reading, we were able to help Irving, and several other Waterloo buildings to connect with Attendance Works, the nation’s premier think tank for reducing chronic absence.

April 2016 Project Highlight:  

The McElroy Trust is proud to support the Youth Art Team’s Urban Intervention (The Butterfly Project).  53 butterfly sculptures appeared by surprise on the lawn of Lowell Elementary in Waterloo between March 8-13, 2016. The artwork was created by six teams of young artists – about 100 total students of all ages from Waterloo and Cedar Falls. Butterflies recently migrated to W 1st Street in Cedar Falls.

The goal of the Youth Art Team Urban Intervention project is to instill in the young artists the knowledge that their actions have the power to alter the dynamics of the community. This project models the butterfly effect, a term describing the potential for one small change in a condition to affect a large and complex system. The Youth Art Team thinks this one small change could make a big difference in our complex community – maybe in ways we can not even predict.


“Be beautiful. Be powerful. Try to think of things that nobody has created before.” – Aerz, age 8

March 2016 Project highlight:  The R.J. McElroy Trust recently put forth a $500,000 challenge grant for the renovation of Clinton Hall at Wartburg College. For more on the McElroy gift, click here.

Clinton GB - McElroyPictured above at the Clinton Hall groundbreaking:  Mike Young (Board Chair), Dr. Darrell Colson (Wartburg College’s President), and Dr. Stacy Van Gorp (Executive Director, McElroy Trust.)