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R. J. McElroy Trust


Last Updated: 2016-07-28

At A Glance

R. J. McElroy Trust

425 Cedar St., Ste. 312

Waterloo, IA United States 50701-1351

Telephone: (319) 287-9102


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $44,374,176

Total giving: $1,926,343





Additional Contact Information

Additional e-mail:


Established in 1965 in IA; private foundation status attained in 1984 - R.J. McElroy was a pioneer Iowa broadcaster. He was born in Eau Claire, WI, in 1910. At age thirteen, he left home and school, took off on a freight train headed west, and worked the wheat fields. Twelve years later found him in Iowa, about to begin his broadcasting career. In 1935, he became a salesman and air personality in Waterloo. In 1947, McElroy founded the Black Hawk Broadcasting Company and put radio station KWWL on the air. That was followed by KWWL-TV. The company later grew to encompass several radio and television stations. McElroy, who died in 1965, made provision in his will for the establishment of a trust fund, the proceeds of which were to be used for the educational benefit of deserving young people. The trust contributes to numerous projects to benefit youth of all ages in northeastern IA

Purpose and Activities

Primary emphasis on education, especially scholarship and loan programs; public secondary education, particularly for the disadvantaged; early childhood and elementary education and programs for minorities; and youth, including internships. The trust awards scholarships to 1-3 high school seniors in each of the school districts in the trust's 19-county area. Scholarship selection is made locally, not by the trust. Giving also for the arts, recreation, and the environment; some support through matching funds and fellowships for graduate study.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Fellowship Program

The foundation awards fellowships to graduates of liberal arts colleges located within the KWWL viewing area in northeast Iowa. Candidates must be pursuing a Ph.D. degree and be nominated by their college.

Gold Star Awards for Outstanding Teaching

Each year ten teachers are nominated by students, parents and teachers themselves, and each Gold Star Award recipient receive $1,000 in cash. The selection committee will look for teachers who rise above everyday standards and expectations to help students achieve their fullest potential.

Grants to Individuals Program

Fellowships by nomination only to graduates of select colleges located within 15 counties in northeast IA, pursuing a Ph.D. degree. The trust also awards Gold Star Awards to teachers in Black Hawk County, IA.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Child development
  • Child educational development
  • Child welfare
  • Early childhood education
  • Education
  • Elementary education
  • Environment
  • Higher education
  • Human services
  • Leadership development
  • Performing arts
  • Secondary education
  • Sports and recreation
  • University education
  • Visual arts
  • Youth organizing
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students
  • Young adults

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $44,374,176 (market value)

Gifts received: $33

Expenditures: $2,803,853

Total giving: $1,926,343

Qualifying distributions: $2,194,746