The Elizabeth Muse Norris Charitable Fund provides grants to nonprofit organizations located in and providing services to those communities within the North Iowa service area of the Globe Gazette. These nonprofit organizations are to carry out projects that clearly help others help themselves with an emphasis on those projects which benefit children, the elderly and focus in the areas of arts/culture, education, healthcare, social services, city parks and other community needs.
Founded in 1983, the Charitable Fund has made over 848 grants totaling more than $13 million dollars to a wide range of non-profit. The Elizabeth Muse Norris Charitable Fund, Muse Norris, Will F Muse Scholarship Fund and the Lorraine and Ray Rorick Fund are managed by the Lee Endowment Foundation. The Foundation ranks within the top 15 largest private foundations in the state of Iowa will total assets in excess of $27 million dollars.
The Lee Endowment Foundation and Elizabeth Muse Charitable Fund preserves the memories and philanthropic commitments of Will F. Muse, daughter Elizabeth Muse Norris and the family of Lorraine and Ray Rorick.
Will F. Muse came to Mason City in 1898 when he and David Conroy purchased the Globe-Gazette. At that time, Mason City had two daily newspapers and five weeklies in a town of 6,000. Muse, who was editor of the paper, conquered his rivals by concentrating on local news and stressing the human and the personal. He and Conroy operated the newspaper until Conroy's death in 1923. The newspaper became part of the Lee Group -- which is now Lee Enterprises Inc. -- in 1925. Muse remained as editor/publisher of the newspaper until he died in 1931.
Ray Rorick came to Mason City in 1931 and joined the Globe Gazette as a bookkepper, later becoming head of the accounting department. In 1956, he became business manager and was named Publisher in 1963 and held that position until he retired in 1969.
Little is known of Elizabeth Muse Norris other than the fact that she embraced philanthropy and vowed to use her father's endowment to "help others help themselves". Upon her death in 1983, $2.1 million dollars of Lee Stock Certificates owned by Elizabeth Muse Norris was used to form the Lee Endowment Foundation to preserve the family's memory and to ensure that funding for worthwhile community programs would continue.
HOW TO APPLY:
All funding requests must be submitted using the supplied form. Please do not send additional items such as photos, videotapes, audio cassettes, presentation folders or three ring binders along with your application, doing so may cause for disqualification. Please limit your responses to the space provided. Hand written applications will be accepted, however must be presented in a printed format and must be legible. Applications will not be considered unless complete. The Elizabeth Muse Norris Charitable Fund does not accept faxed or emailed applications.
Applications must be postmarked no later than March 31. An announcement of funding will be made on or about the first Sunday of August in the Globe Gazette newspaper and on this website. If selected checks are mailed in December we do not mail letters of notification.
Applications for funding are accepted only from non-profit organizations (501c3) residing in and serving those North Iowa communities within the service area of the Globe Gazette newspaper, Britt News Tribune, Forest City Summit and Mitchell County Press News.
Please mail three (3) copies of your application along with a copy of your 501(c)(3) to:
Elizabeth Muse Norris Charitable Fund
c/o Globe Gazette
300 N Washington Ave
Mason City, Iowa 50401
CRITERIA FOR MAKING GRANT DETERMINATIONS
The Applicant must be a "public charity" within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or Internal Revenue Code Section 170(c)(1) and must demonstrate the feasibility of the project for which the funds will be used.
Funding will be provided only to those North Iowa organizations residing in and serving those North Iowa communities within the service area of the Globe Gazette newspaper, Britt News Tribune, Forest City Summit and Mitchell County Press News.
Only those applications submitted using our application form will be considered for possible funding. All applications must be postmarked no later than March 31. Notification of approved funding will appear on this website in published in the Globe Gazette on or about the first Sunday in August. Checks are dispersed around December 15.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS WILL WE FUND
Funding is provided to those nonprofit organizations which carry out projects that clearly help others help themselves with an emphasis on those projects which benefit children, the elderly and focus in the areas of arts/culture, education, healthcare, social services, city parks, community needs and those projects that help the needy. Consideration will also be given to building projects for nonprofit organizations within the communities listed on this page.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS WILL WE NOT FUND
We do not provide funding for financial shortfalls, deficits, administrative costs, debt reduction, parking lots, roofs, general maintenance issues, core funding or unspecified donations. As well, we will not provide funding for projects where they are eligible for corporate sponsorship or projects where the applying organizations have received substantial support already from the Charitable Fund at sometime in the preceding five years. Nor will we support religious activities which or programs that serve, or appear to serve specific religious groups or denominations.
We will not provide funding to projects which have primarily a commercial purpose or which Government would normally support and we will not provide funding for any project which does not meet the intent Elizabeth Muse Norris' will.
FOR WHAT OTHER REASONS ARE REQUESTS REJECTED?
If the application form is filled out correctly and your organization meets the criteria above, there should not be a problem. Acceptance of your application is not a guarantee of funding, nor does it imply that your project will be funded at the full amount of your request.
HOW MANY APPLICATIONS DOES THE COMMITTEE REVIEW EACH YEAR?
Our screening committee reviews an average of 100+ applications per year. Some requests are submitted for as little as $100 while other requests totaled more than $1 million dollars.
CAN WE APPLY FOR FUNDING TO BE PAID YEARLY FOR A PERIOD OF 2-4 YEARS?
No. You must submit an application each year. There is no guarantee we will be the same project a second or third time around. We review each project based on the need and the service it provides North Iowans.