Single-Largest Individual Gift in the History of the Iowa State Fair
Richard O. Jacobson Foundation Donates Single-Largest Individual Gift in the History of the Iowa State Fair
$10 million gift will be used in part to renovate the 4-H Building
The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation has received the single-largest individual gift in the organization’s history, a $10 million donation from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. Six million will be used to renovate the 4-H Building, while $4 million will support the Foundation’s endowment, Our Fair’s Future.
“The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is extremely grateful to the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation for this generous, record-setting gift, which will enhance millions of Fairgoers’ experience for years to come,” said Peter Cownie, Executive Director of the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation. “Simply put, this gift allows us to continue preserving the history of the Iowa State Fair, while improving the grounds and the facilities for future generations.”
The 4-H Building renovation will commence following the 2019 Iowa State Fair. The building will be renovated from top to bottom with new lighting and floors, updated facilities and restrooms, construction of a new kitchen facility, and creating additional classroom space.
“Mr. Jacobson cared deeply for the Iowa State Fair, its agricultural history and its support of young people interested in learning more about agriculture,” said the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation. “We’re pleased to announce this gift to the Iowa State Fair to support the backbone of the Fair — its agricultural roots."
The $4 million endowment donation will help support the 4-H Building, the Jacobson Exhibition Center, Jacobson Plaza, and Jacobson Hall in the future. Mr. Jacobson’s generosity and previous donations helped build all these facilities for the benefit of Fairgoers. These facilities enhanced the reputation of the Iowa State Fair.
In recognition of this gift, the newly renovated 4-H Building will have a dedicated memorial in honor of Richard O. Jacobson. Jacobson was a businessman and philanthropist who has helped the Blue Ribbon Foundation continue the proud tradition of the Iowa State Fair. This $10 million gift brings the total contribution from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation to $15 million.
“The Jacobson Foundation’s continued generosity will help enhance the Iowa State Fair’s ability to continue timeless traditions and create lasting memories,” said Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair CEO. “We are so grateful for Mr. Jacobson’s longtime support of the state of Iowa and the Iowa State Fair.”
The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has raised more than $150 million, through individual contributions, state appropriations, in-kind services, and corporate, federal and state grants.