Community Foundation of Jackson County celebrates Cemetery Appreciation Month

Each spring, the governor of Iowa declares May Cemetery Appreciation Month in appreciation of our ancestors’ resting places. “Iowans are aware of the need to preserve the rich heritage contained in our pioneer historical cemeteries,” reads the May 2021 proclamation, drawing a connection between respect for the past and concern for the future. 

Caretakers of cemeteries across Jackson County, in their own commitment to preserving the past for future generations, have created endowment funds with the Community Foundation of Jackson County that will ensure sources of annual funding to benefit cemeteries forever. 

For many rural cemeteries, there is a constant challenge to maintain and improve aging properties with limited income, and it’s crucial to maintain a balance between funding for current expenses and saving for future needs. Endowment funds provide supplemental, long-term income, ensuring dollars are available for maintenance projects like landscaping and repairing damaged and leaning stones.

The Foundation holds endowed funds for St. Mary’s Cemetery, St. Pat’s Cemetery and Mt. Hope Cemetery.

“During Cemetery Appreciation Month, we reflect on the many ways we can assist cemetery associations in their good work,” says Lori Loch, Foundation executive director. “The Foundation can provide a perpetual home for cemetery funds, and our professional financial and investment teams responsibly steward the funds. We also can assist with fundraising and are able to accept complex gifts like land, stock or grain.”

As a bonus for their generosity, people who give to endowed funds at the Foundation can benefit from the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit.

“Much like Iowa’s historic cemeteries, community foundations are forever,” says Loch. “Our endowment funds are invested permanently, and the earnings from that investment provide annual funding to address our community’s greatest needs for generations to come.”

To learn more or support your local cemetery, contact Loch at 563-588-2700 or