Dyersville Area Community Foundation grants support a safe return to learning

The Dyersville Area Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund awarded $4,202 through four grants that supported students returning to school this fall. School supplies and classroom sanitization were top concerns for assuring the safety and learning of nearly 1,300 Dyersville students and staff. 

"We were so glad to see the grant applications from our area schools,” said Michelle Grover, executive director of the Community Foundation. “There was a real need to get the students back in the classroom.” 

Beckman High School surveyed parents, and 95% requested a return to in-person learning. A sanitizing mist system, purchased in partnership with the Foundation and Mi-T-M, is helping students and teachers stay healthy by efficiently disinfecting classrooms and common areas. “Everything we are doing is to allow the students and staff to safely return to school to receive the education that they deserve,” school officials wrote in the grant application.

Dyersville Elementary received a grant for thermometers and face coverings for families, classroom sanitization supplies, and instructional toolkits for virtual learners that include games, plastic letters, school supplies and laminated instructions. The toolkits also can be used if a student needs to quarantine at home. Families in need receive priority for masks and thermometers.

St. Francis Xavier School used grant dollars to purchase a touchless water bottle refill station. School water fountains are shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so students are using two touchless refill stations to fill water bottles they bring from home. The school is providing bottles to students who don’t have them. 

“Every safety measure allowed the students and staff to safely return to school,” said Grover. “Providing a safe setting did put a financial burden on the schools, so we were very happy to help lighten that load." 

Due to the pandemic, the Dyersville Campaign for Grade-Level Reading did not hold its annual Kick Off to School event, where books and school supplies are distributed to those who attend. Through a partnership with St. Mark Youth Enrichment, the Dyersville Campaign identified students in need of school supplies and used the grant from the Foundation to provide them. The project supported 24 students from 18 families at St. Francis Xavier and Western Dubuque Schools.  

Grant applicants noted the added value of keeping students and staff healthy to limit the spread of the virus on buses, in homes, and while doing essential business in public spaces. 

To date, the Foundation has raised over $10,450 for its COVID-19 Relief Fund and granted $10,002 to organizations on the front lines of serving families most impacted by the pandemic. The fund provides an opportunity for the public to give with the reassurance their donations will be used to quickly move resources to where they are most urgently needed in their own community, particularly toward needs not being met by existing nonprofit, local, state and federal programs. 

To give online to the fund, visit dbqfoundation.org/dacfcovidrelief. Checks made out to DACF COVID-19 Relief Fund may be dropped off at Fidelity, MidWestOne or Community Savings Bank drive-ups, or mailed to the Dyersville Area Community Foundation at 1100 16th Ave. Ct. SE, Dyersville, IA 52040.

To apply for a grant for your nonprofit, email dacf@dbqfoundation.org.