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Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus Set for Dedication

Council Bluffs, IA, September 24, 2008 - The five agencies occupying the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus are pleased to announce that the dedication ceremony to open the 14.8-acre facility will take place on Wednesday, September 24 at 1:00 p.m. at 16th Street and Avenue I in Council Bluffs. Both the general public and media are invited to attend. Charles E. Lakin, representing the Lakin family, and Todd Graham, representing Iowa West Foundation, are scheduled to speak at the event. The Offutt Air Force Base Color Guard will raise the first flag to fly on the Lakin Campus at 11:00 AM.

The Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus is the culmination of a massive collaboration among the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs, Heartland Family Service, MICAH House and the Salvation Army that began in 2005. That December, Charles E. Lakin publicly pledged a $10 million gift to get the project off the ground. His donation is believed to be the largest gift ever made toward a human services need in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. Lakin added to his gift a year later when he pledged an additional $2 million to expand the original site.

"I want to help people, particularly young people and families," Lakin says of his generosity. "Families are important, and at the campus you'll notice that on the west side of the donor's circle, we've depicted my family because I'm proud to share this facility with generations to come."

Over $34 million secured to make construction of the facility a reality. In addition to Lakin's gift, the following notable donations were also received:

* $8 million from the Iowa West Foundation

* $2.5 million from Anonymous Donor outside the Omaha/Council Bluffs area

* $1 million from Mary Howlette Nichols

* $1 million from Peter Kiewit Foundation

* $1 million from the H.H. "Red" and Ruth Nelson Family Foundation

* $1 million from The Lozier Foundation

* $1 million from the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation

* $1 million from a second Anonymous Donor

* $300,000 from the Southwest Iowa Foundation

* $250,000 from the Howard Hawks Foundation

* $250,000 Kiewit Companies Foundation

* $250,000 John and Wende Kotouc

* $250,000 from the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation

* $200,000 Mutual of Omaha

* $200,000 The Salvation Army

* $200,000 The Sunderland Foundation

* $150,000 Ken and Ann Stinson

* $100,000 Ameristar Casino and Hotel

* $100,000 Con Agra Foods Foundation

* $100,000 Gallner Family

* $100,000 The Harrah's Foundation

"The Iowa West Foundation's role in supporting the Lakin Human Services Campus was more than a funding role," says Executive Director and CEO Todd Graham. "Early on the foundation convened the five agencies and facilitated their exploration of the benefits and costs of collaboration. The result of their hard work and Charles Lakin's support is truly remarkable and a model for other communities."

The campus consists of five separate buildings. It also includes a supportive housing facility for homeless families, a gymnasium, a commercial kitchen and dining area, classrooms, meeting rooms, playgrounds, parking accommodations and a center focal point to accommodate donor recognition and also serve as a community gathering area.

"It's very important that these agencies were able to come together," Lakin says. "If someone is visiting one of these agencies and needs the services of the other, those facilities are within walking distance."

Also Worth Noting:

* The construction of a large, multi-use facility saved $11 million in construction costs that would have been incurred had each agency chosen to build separately.

* The project will produce more than $24 million in capital improvements in a major traffic corridor to the city of Council Bluffs.

* Campus facilities total 114,175 square feet.

* The campus will offer more recreation and personal development opportunities for children and youth (10,879 children, or 72% of all Council Bluffs residents under age 19, live within two miles of the campus site).

* The first piece of property for the campus was purchased in March 2006. During the Spring of 2006, the Lakin Campus paid the City of Council Bluffs $200,000 (in addition to the cost of the land) to acquire properties in the "Phase I" area. In order to save the Lakin Campus money for additional properties that were needed, Mr. Lakin himself acquired the "Phase Two" properties for the Campus on a cost only basis.

* Five architectural design agencies were responsible for the design of the campus (Bahr Vermeer Haecker Architects, studioINSITE, HGMassociates, Holland Basham Architects and Studio360 architecture).

* The entire project, from concept to occupancy, took less than three years. The two residential facilities for homeless families began receiving guests and residents in late August, 2008. As of September 22, four families are at Heartland Homes and 35 guests are at the MICAH House, including 17 children.

For more information regarding the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus, please visit


"The Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus is a unique collaboration that's a model for the future of human services delivery. It's cost effective in terms of sharing space and it allows for the integration of human service delivery systems among the agencies that produce better results for families and children."

- Pete Tulipana, President and CEO, Heartland Family Service

"Good intentions don't magically turn a charitable gift into philanthropic "gold".

Charles' campus gift is "golden" because it offers opportunity to children of working class families, which is his major philanthropic interest, and because the campus' unique collaborative structure is inherently cost effective. In Charles' words, 'This just makes sense.'"

- Mary Heng-Braun, Philanthropy Consultant to Charles E. Lakin

"The vision of the Iowa West Foundation is a community where families choose to live because of its quality of life, and the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus is certainly an example of the vision of the foundation - the agencies and the entire community becoming reality."

- Todd Graham, Executive Director and CEO, Iowa West Foundation

"This facility is an unprecedented collaboration of five design teams and five agencies that have all worked together seamlessly throughout the life of this project. It's been very easy to keep people on the job motivated because they all know they're working towards a higher cause and chances to do that don't come along every day."

- Larry Hopp, Kiewit Building Group

"Staying at the MICAH House has given my children a future by me being able to provide for them. I can stay here, save money and make life better for them. MICAH House connects us with resources that would take us much longer to get connected to on our own. Being one of the first ones to stay in the new building made us feel important and reminds me of the life I want to give my kids."

- Troy, single father of two, staying at the MICAH House


APRIL 2005: Iowa West Foundation invites representatives from the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Heartland Family Service to discuss a possible joint construction venture. The agencies met with their boards and all agreed to continue the discussion.

Two new agencies - the Boys & Girls Club and Micah House - also join the collaboration.

JUNE 2005: Iowa West Foundation allocates $40,000 in planning funds for the project, followed by $87,500 for predevelopment activities.

JULY 2005: The City of Council Bluffs identifies six possible locations for the campus.

NOVEMBER 2005: Mr. Charles E. Lakin meets with representatives from the five agencies and pledges $10 million toward the three-block campus.

DECEMBER 2005: Mayor Tom Hanafan, Mr. Lakin and five agency directors make the public announcement regarding Lakin's gift.

Iowa West Foundation announces a $6 million commitment to the campus over a three-year period.

SPRING 2006: Charles E. Lakin announces plans to donate an additional $2 million to the campus to acquire property for Phase II, bring his total gift to $12 million. The first piece of property for the campus is purchased in March 2006. During the Spring of 2006, the Lakin Campus paid the City of Council Bluffs $200,000 (in addition to the cost of the land) to acquire properties in the "Phase I" area. In order to save the Lakin Campus money for additional properties that were needed, Mr. Lakin himself acquired the "Phase Two" properties for the Campus on a cost only basis.

MAY 2006: Bahr Vermeer & Haecker and Studio InSite are hired to design a master site plan for the campus.

JULY 2006: An anonymous donor from outside the Nebraska/Iowa area pledges $2.5 million gift to the campus.

Demolition begins on the former Chalet Motor Lodge, the first visible sign of progress toward campus development.

NOVEMBER 2006: Press conference announces new pledges totaling $4.5 million and seven acres of land for the campus care of Charles E. Lakin.

JULY 2007: Groundbreaking Ceremony at the future site of the Charles E. Lakin Human Services Campus.

SEPTEMBER 2007: Iowa West Foundation awards a $1.7 million grant to complete the agencies fundraising campaign for the campus.

SEPTEMBER 2008: Dedication Ceremony.

Charles E. Lakin

Charles E. Lakin was born in 1921 on a farm four miles north of Emerson, Iowa. He is the son of Harvey and Lena Lakin. Lakin married the former Florence Swoboda of Malvern in 1938.

Following their marriage, Charles and Florence Lakin moved to Galveston, Texas where Charles worked in the kitchen of a hotel mopping floors and washing dishes. Florence also supported the marriage, working as a cashier in a retail store. In 1939, the Lakins returned to Iowa, where they rented a 139-acre farm in West Township of Montgomery County. Thus began Charles E. Lakin Enterprises.

Throughout his years in business, Lakin purchased farmland throughout the state of Iowa, at one point owning the two largest contiguous farms in Iowa (totaling some 17,000 acres). Lakin's interests also spread to other parts of the country. He has owned several thousand acres of citrus groves in Arizona, and he built a citrus packing facility in Yuma, Arizona that was responsible for shipping four million cartons of citrus annually all over the world. Lakin also owned and operated a meat packing plant and was one of the founders and directors of Hawkeye Bancorporation which owned 35 banks in Iowa.

Today Lakin maintains an office in the American National Bank Building in Omaha. He and his wife Florence have been married for over 70 years. The Lakins have four children: Diane Lakin Kilzer, Charles E. Lakin III, Deborah Lakin Gorgani and Nancy Lakin Benson. They also have ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Iowa West Foundation

With special interests in community development, economic development, education and social needs, the Iowa West Foundation aims to improve lives and strengthen communities for future generations. Since its formation in 1994, the Foundation has provided over $190 million in funding to nonprofit organizations and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The foundation is headquartered in Council Bluffs.


American Red Cross

Proudly serving eight counties in Iowa, the Loess Hills Chapter of the American Red Cross has been a community staple in Iowa for the past 90 years. Supported solely by the generosity of the American people, the American Red Cross provides relief to disaster victims and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. The organization is responsible for training 12 million people nationally each year in lifesaving skills such as First Aid, CPR and water safety.

Boys & Girls Clubs

Boys & Girls Clubs offer safe places, programs and services that enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. Nationally, the Boys & Girls Clubs serve nearly 5 million boys and girls annually at some 4,300 locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Heartland Family Service

The mission of Heartland Family Service is to strengthen individuals and families in the community through education, counseling and support. Founded in Omaha in 1875, Heartland Family Service serves nearly 40,000 people annually in twelve counties, including children in unsafe homes, teens involved with drugs and alcohol and low-income families who fall into homelessness.


The MICAH House is an emergency homeless shelter in Council Bluffs that provides a safe refuge for families and single women experiencing the crisis of homelessness. In 2007, MICAH House provided more than 13,000 nights of shelter, served over 27,000 meals and helped improve the lives of 478 individuals.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a Christian based social services organization founded by William and Catherine Booth. A prominent relief agency, the Salvation Army is always at the front of the lines to help with disaster relief operations. It's also well-known for its thrift store network that raises money for its charitable and religious activities.

NOTE: High-resolution drawings and photos are available for this story. Contact:

Dawn Bashara, Communications Director, Heartland Family Service, (402) 552-7447 (office), (402) 676-3420 (cell)


(Contact: Deborah Neary, American Red Cross, (402) 689-3775; Pete Tulipana, Heartland Family Service, (402) 552-7402 or (402) 690-8000)




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