Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Mainframe Studios begins final renovations as $1 million Lauridsen Family matching gift is achieved

Mainframe Studios has met a deadline that will enable the arts organization to renovate its final floor, making it the largest nonprofit studio building in the nation.

In 2021, Nix and Virginia Lauridsen announced a pledge to the organization in the form of a matching gift. The local philanthropists offered to match all contributions raised by July 1, 2022, dollar-for-dollar, up to a million dollars.

Already featuring over 130 creative workspaces on four of its five floors, Mainframe Studios will finish renovations by the end of the year to reach a total of 180 studios.

The building received a facelift last year with a colorful mural that now covers the entire exterior of the building. Founded by Justin Mandelbaum, the nonprofit purchased the 160,000-square-foot former CenturyLink building in 2014 and has raised approximately $15M to finance the building acquisition and its extensive renovations.

“I am very grateful to our generous donors – and the Lauridsen family in particular – for believing in our vision, and in our ability to make this vision a reality,” said Mandelbaum in a release. “Their generosity has enabled Mainframe Studios to become a financially self-sustaining nonprofit, and therefore, a cultural asset that can be enjoyed for generations to come. I am excited to see how this unfolds and grows in the future.”

Mainframe Studios will acknowledge its long list of donors with an art installation by artist Alex Braden.

Mainframe Studios begins final renovations as $1 million Lauridsen Family matching gift is achieved | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now