Prairie Meadows Giving Away More than $4M in Grants

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ALTOONA, Iowa -- The IRS is auditing Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino and may revoke its nonprofit status.

The audit issue was on the agenda Wednesday, but the matter was not discussed. However, the chairman of the board of directors said that if Prairie Meadows loses its nonprofit status, it will take the appropriate course of action, whatever that might be.

Losing its tax-exempt status could impact the amount of money Prairie Meadows gives to the community.  At the Wednesday board meeting, Prairie Meadows announced it will give more money away this year than it ever has before.

The board of directors voted to give away more than $4.2 million in grants to various projects for community betterment.

“We were very pleased that we had this amount of money to be able to give out to these very important programs,” said Bob Myers, chairman of the board of directors.

When you add that to money Prairie Meadows has already given out this year, the total comes to $5.7 million.

“That’s pretty significant. That’s a record amount of money,” Myers said.

The money will go to scholarships, a Polk County hunger initiative, Altoona Economic Development and the Greater Des Moines YMCA.

Prairie meadows

“It’s been an excellent year in terms of performance of Prairie Meadows, the profitability of Prairie Meadows. We’ve got all the major construction projects completed. Those bills as far as I know have all been paid,” Myers said.

As part of the nearly $6 million giveaway, Prairie Meadows is donating $900,000 to UnityPoint for emergency department expansion at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

“We offered Prairie Meadows the naming opportunity. There’s lots of visibility and we’re going to be proud to put Prairie Meadows name on the entrance to the Adult Emergency Department and that required a significant gift, and they were kind enough to give it to us,” said Dennis Linderbaum, President of UnityPoint Health Foundation.

UnityPoint says without philanthropy, the expansion at the not-for-profit hospital simply wouldn't happen.

“In this facility, we take care of all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Our emergency trauma center is very much a safety net still for the community, so that philanthropy makes all the difference in how much we can build and how much service we can provide,” said Eric Crowell, CEO of UnityPoint Health in Des Moines.

UnityPoint says the new emergency department expansion will be open and ready for the public to use in June.