A Grantmaking Record


Jeff Danna
Communications Manager

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Six local nonprofits have received $51,000 in funding through the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque to address issues like food insecurity, children’s well-being and neighborhood vitality.

The funding is supported by the Foundation’s Community Impact Grants program, which builds the capacity of local nonprofits to make an impact by supporting training and development, collaboration and coaching, research and planning, and operations.

This year represented the largest total grant amount in the program’s 17-year history.

“Strong nonprofits help build strong communities, which is why grantmaking programs like this one are so important to our mission,” says Nancy Van Milligen, Community Foundation president and CEO. “By conducting research and building relationships with local nonprofits, we gain knowledge that helps us understand what issues the community faces. With that knowledge, we can grant funds in a strategic way that empowers organizations to address those needs.”

Six organizations received Community Impact grants:

  • Dubuque County Early Childhood received $5,500 to support marketing, implementation, education and community outreach around its strategic plan.
  • The Dubuque County Energy District received $5,500 to hire professionals that will support a strategic marketing and fundraising campaign that connects the organization to a larger network of energy districts and helps build a sustainable financial model.
  • Friends of St. Mary’s/Steeple Square received $10,000 to support a program that addresses food insecurity in partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College and Four Mounds.
  • Northeast Iowa Community College received $10,000 to hire a part-time mentor who will provide outreach to immigrant communities focused on engaging, recruiting and retaining immigrant students.
  • St. Mark Youth Enrichment received $10,000 to initiate expansion of its services into early childhood, addressing a need for resources like child care and social-emotional programs.
  • Voices Productions received $10,000 to launch creative placemaking strategies intended to engage residents of the surrounding Washington Neighborhood and support community vitality.

This year, the Foundation took a new approach to the Community Impact Grant process. After receiving requests, the Foundation narrowed down the pool of applicants and invited the finalists to make pitches to the grant committee. Working with The Innovation Lab, the Foundation offered free one-on-one coaching to finalists, and each produced a video pitch that the committee members viewed.

“The pitch-based grant process allows grantees to get better at telling their story and helps grant makers really get a feel for each applicant's passion for their project in a much different way than a written application,” says Jordan DeGree, executive director of The Innovation Lab. “The opportunity to engage in a live Q&A also helps grant makers clarify different aspects of the project rather than just having to make assumptions or guess during the review process.”

Grant recipients say they are grateful for the opportunity to build their capacity for serving the Dubuque region.

“As a community-centric organization, one of our main goals is to create an inspirational, transformational and inclusive presence, which will have a beneficial impact on the surrounding area,” says Gene Tully, president of Voices Productions, an organization that uses art to advance community enrichment.

As the Community Impact Grant program continues to grow, so do local needs. The Community Foundation received 30 applications totaling more than $371,100.

“Every request we received was for a worthy cause,” says Chris Corken, a Foundation board member who serves on the Community Impact Grant Committee. “This grant program is just one of the ways we can help address an array of community issues, and through a number of other Foundation offerings, we can help close the funding gap and deepen our impact.”

The Greater Dubuque Forever Fund offers another opportunity to address needs like those highlighted by the Community Impact Grant program. Gifts to the Forever Fund today help address challenges or opportunities that the Dubuque region might face in the future.

To learn more about the Community Impact Grants program, visit dbqfoundation.org/communityimpact. To learn more about the Greater Dubuque Forever Fund, visit dbqfoundation.org/forever.

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About Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Since 2002, we have inspired people to give back to their community, and we turn this generosity into lasting change across our region, increasing access to resources and opportunities that help all people succeed. Visit dbqfoundation.org to learn about the many ways we are building a strong, thriving Greater Dubuque for all.