Two Sheldon entities receive grant funds

Eleven-year-old volunteer Jonathon Hague cleans up part of the kitchen inside the historical Sears, Roebuck and Co. mail-order catalog house at Prairie Arts Historical Park in Sheldon. The Prairie Arts Council was awarded a $5,000 grant to use toward a kitchen renovation project.

SHELDON—Two Sheldon-based organizations will benefit from O’Brien County Community Foundation grants recently handed out.

The Prairie Arts Council and Sheldon Fire Co. were among 23 recipients of grants — which totaled more than $103,000 — that went to area nonprofit organizations and local government units in support of projects that benefit the county.

The 2019 funding was presented on June 11 during an awards ceremony at the Primghar Community Building.

The Prairie Arts Council received $5,000 for the purchase of items toward a kitchen renovation project inside its historical Sears, Roebuck and Co. mail-order catalog house at Prairie Arts Historical Park, located at 1423 Park St. in Sheldon.

“The Prairie Arts Council is pleased to announce that we received a $5,000 grant from the O’Brien County Community Foundation,” said Karin Vanden Berg of Sheldon, the nonprofit organization’s board president.

The goal of the arts council’s renovation project is to make the house’s kitchen functional again.

Once the work is finished, the kitchen’s features will include new wooden cupboards, new vinyl flooring and a new sink.

“We use this kitchen to prepare the snacks and drinks for the open houses of artwork shown,” Vanden Berg said. “The kitchen is also used to prepare food for our Halloween Carnival in October.

“This fall, it will be used as a classroom for the young children who may be interested in learning to bake,” she said. “We are so grateful for this grant and are eagerly working toward getting this ready.”

The former Dick Wansink house is home to the Hal Tuttle Gallery, which features a collection of area artwork of all types, books and musical pieces, among other items.

Harold “Hal” Tuttle, a longtime council board president, retired earlier this year from the organization, which he had overseen for years.

Tuttle, a former one-room country school student, was instrumental in founding the historical park in 1972.

He was a longtime art teacher for the Sheldon School District and Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

“A few years ago, the board renamed the gallery as the Hal Tuttle Gallery — appropriate for his longtime status of teaching art and keeping art alive at the Prairie Arts Historical Park,” Vanden Berg said.

In addition to the grant funds it gave out to the arts council, the O’Brien County Community Foundation handed out $1,918.80 to the Sheldon Fire Co. for the purchase of a training smoke machine, a wireless remote and smoke fluid.

The fire department plans to use the equipment to train firefighters from Sheldon and other area communities across N’West Iowa and beyond.

The smoke machine will be used to train firefighters in low-visibility conditions.

The device also is portable so it can be used anywhere that the fire department might need it for training purposes.


Since the first O’Brien County Community Foundation grants were distributed in 2006, 343 of them totaling more than $1.2 million have been awarded to area nonprofit organizations and local government units in support of projects that benefit the county.

“Every year, the community foundation is excited to award grants that will impact O’Brien County,” said Charlene Elyea, chair of the community foundation advisory board.

“These grants help support our emergency services, better our quality of life in O’Brien County and fund many other worthwhile projects and services,” she said.

The O’Brien County Community Foundation was formally established in 2005 through affiliation with the Siouxland Community Foundation, which is based in Sioux City.

The local community foundation is governed by an advisory board made up of representatives from each of the incorporated communities in O’Brien County — Archer, Calumet, Hartley, Paullina, Primghar, Sanborn, Sheldon and Sutherland — as well as one county-at-large member.

The advisory board determines the O’Brien County Community Foundation’s grant recipients each year.

The mission of the community foundation is to enhance the quality of life in the communities served by encouraging permanent charitable giving to meet the needs of present and future generations.