Endowments inspire next generation of leaders


Students at Calamus Wheatland Community Schools, Northeast Community Schools and Central DeWitt Community Schools went above and beyond this winter when they donated nearly 3,000 pounds of food to local pantries. The students were acting in response to the Henricksen Nonprofit Challenge to Central DeWitt High School, a fund held by the LincolnWay Community Foundation. Calamus-Wheatland won the challenging, receiving a pizza lunch and the honor of filling their pantry with the most food – 1,620 pounds, or nearly four pounds per student.

“It was totally awesome. It took us all day to put the groceries away. We appreciate it so much,” says Nancy Smith, director of the Elvira Food Pantry, which received over 1,000 pounds of food from students in the Northeast Community School District. “When people came in to get their groceries, they were flabbergasted, because we had such a variety of options.  They really appreciated it.” 

Each year, payouts from endowment funds held by Community Foundation support organizations’ missions and improve quality of life in local communities. Payouts from the Henricksen fund are dedicated to creating a special experience that inspires students to give back. 

Lifelong educator and Foundation board member Pat Henricksen launched the endowment to provide this valuable experience for students each year. 

“I always want to teach young people that we learn, we earn, and then we return to the community for future progress,” says Henricksen. “That’s why I set up this endowment: to help students at Central realize that philanthropy has an important role to play in strengthening rural Clinton County.”

The Foundation holds funds for many nonprofits, as well as individuals and families with charitable goals. In 2023, the Foundation’s family of funds paid out $124,000 for community projects in rural Clinton County. Gifts to the Foundation’s family of endowments funds can be made anytime online at dbqfoundation.org/lwcf. 

“The Foundation connects donors with the greatest needs in our community,” says Executive Director Amanda Willimack. “We offer many opportunities to improve quality of life by addressing an array of local issues.” To learn more about how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community, contact Willimack at 563-212-2812 or email lwcff@dbqfoundation.org.