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R. J. McElroy Trust


Last profile update: 03/21/2018
Last grant data update: 05/02/2018

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






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.