Check out our recent press release.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      

May 8, 2019




The thirty-sixth annual graduate fellowships granted by the R.J. McElroy Trust were awarded to graduating seniors at Cornell College and the University of Northern Iowa.

The fellowships which carry a stipend of up to $36,000 paid over three years, were awarded to Samantha Nadel of Cornell College and Nina Jocic of the University of Northern Iowa. They were selected from a field of finalists from colleges and universities in Northeast Iowa.

The fellowships, established by the McElroy Trustees in 1983, are designed to “encourage person of accomplishment, intelligence, integrity, and leadership ability to pursue challenging academic careers.” Based upon satisfactory progress toward a Ph. D. degree, the stipend of $12,000 may be renewed for two additional years.

In making the nominations, Dr. Jonathan Brand, President of Cornell College and Dr. Mark Nook, President of the University of Northern Iowa praised the academic and leadership accomplishments of the two students.

Miss Nadel will pursue a Ph.D. in Archeology/Archaeological Sciences from Boston University and is from Houston, Texas.   Miss Jocic will pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and is from Waterloo, Iowa.

The McElroy Fellowships were established to support students seeking higher education. The Trust is designed to benefit “deserving young people.”

The Trust benefactor, R. J. McElroy, was a pioneer broadcaster who started the Black Hawk Broadcasting Company in 1947. He died in 1965.

March 29 ,2019

World’s Greatest Spring Break For Kids
A Great Success

Waterloo, Iowa – The sun was out and downtown Waterloo was buzzing with families enjoying fun and affordable attractions for families during spring break.

Eight venues participated in World’s Greatest Spring Break for Kids with 13,278 admissions tallied in 2019! The admission cost at each venue was reduced to $1 from March 18-22. The event averaged 2,656 admissions per day, among the eight venues in downtown Waterloo.

131,426 visitors have enjoyed the World’s Greatest Spring Break for Kids since it began ten years ago.

The Phelps Youth Pavilion tallied 3,460 admissions, and the Imaginarium tallied 2,912 admissions. The pool at the Cedar Valley Sportplex was often at capacity with nearly 1,200 swimmers during spring break week.

Megan McKenzie, Executive Director for the R.J. McElroy Trust, credited the success to two factors, “amazing attractions, all crammed into one-square mile” and “a very, very harsh winter.” 

The World’s Greatest Spring Break for Kids began in 2010 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ralph J. McElroy’s birth.  McElroy was founder of Black Hawk Broadcasting Company including KWWL TV.  He left his estate to help young people in northeast Iowa.  The McElroy Trust has distributed over $64 million since R.J. McElroy’s death in 1965.

December 21, 2018                                                                     





WATERLOO, IOWA --     The R. J. McElroy Trust is announcing two staff leadership changes effective January 1, 2019.  Executive director Dr. Stacy Van Gorp will leave the Trust and be succeeded as executive director by program officer Megan McKenzie.

Van Gorp has been an outside consultant to profit and non-profit organizations in addition to her role at the Trust. Demand for her services has grown steadily. She will assist the Trust’s leadership transition through January 31, 2019, and then remain in the Cedar Valley to expand her consulting practice to full time.

Van Gorp joined the Trust in 2007. She oversaw the development of Trust initiatives like The World’s Greatest Spring Break; The Gold Star Awards for Outstanding Teaching; and major community initiatives like Sportsplex and LifeLab for the Waterloo Schools. Trust chairman Jim Waterbury commented, “Stacy has been an amazing asset to the Trust and to young people in northeast Iowa. She brings passion, connections and great judgment to everything she does. We are proud of her leadership and eager to see her grow her practice.”

McKenzie joined the Trust as program officer in 2018. She earned a BA degree from UNI in leisure, youth and human services; a certified nonprofit professional credential from UNI; and a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Washington. McKenzie interned at the Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association in 2011, and worked from 2012-2017 as a relationship manager and coach for Benevon in Seattle, Washington, helping nonprofits build sustainable funding. Waterbury noted, “We’re pleased Megan has chosen to grow with the Cedar Valley. She knows our culture and operations well, and she’s already deeply involved in helping deserving young people – the reason the Trust exists.”

Megan McKenzie