Building a strong foundation for LincolnWay


For over 35 years, the LincolnWay Community Foundation has been making a difference for nonprofits, schools and community projects in rural Clinton County. Al Tubbs was there in 1987, when the Community Foundation was getting off the ground. It all started with the DeWitt Opera House Theater.

In the late ‘70s, the future of the theater was in question, and business leaders set out to save it. They purchased it, raised funds and filed paperwork to give [JD1] it nonprofit status. Yet they quickly recognized the need for an organization to fundraise for community projects in DeWitt beyond the theater. 

That was the genesis of the DeWitt Community Foundation, which later expanded to serve all of rural Clinton County as the LincolnWay Community Foundation. Because of the Tubbs/Fagerland banking partnership in Maquoketa, Al was familiar with Maquoketa’s community foundation. He tapped into the expertise of his business partner, John Fagerland, who was involved with the foundation in Maquoketa, to start a similar organization in DeWitt. He also sought legal assistance from John Peavey, who serves as the president of the LincolnWay board today.

“The Foundation is a wonderful vehicle to support community projects. It provides the opportunity to plan lifetime gifts as well as estate bequests so individuals can continue to support the community and projects that are important to them long after they’re gone. It’s helped my wife, Myrna, and me think about what we want to do with our assets beyond our family and beyond our lifetime, which will build a better future and stronger communities for our grandchildren.”

Al and Myrna’s commitment to community is bearing fruit today and will continue to do so for generations to come. The Opera House is thriving, and the Foundation’s family of funds paid out $214,000 in grants this year to support small towns across the county. “It is everything we hoped it would be,” says Al, “improving quality of life for everyone who lives here.”