Manchester Vitality Endowment celebrates milestone

Leaders building a new community endowment reach $450,000 fundraising goal

Leaders of the Manchester Vitality Endowment are celebrating a milestone, announcing they have completed the Small-town Dreams Initiative challenge grant.

Completing the fundraising challenge means this team of leaders and many generous donors have reached $450,000, which includes $75,000 of matching funds from an anonymous donor. The fund, held by the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County, is invested and will grow forever, with annual payouts available for grantmaking.

“Our vision for the endowment is to have annual funds available to immediately give energy to the best and brightest ideas for Manchester,” says Julie Frick, the campaign team’s convener.

“The support from people who love our community has been just amazing,” adds Lisa Guetzko. The team’s founding leaders — Jerry Burke, Leo Monaghan, Diane Hammell, Jackie and Dean Sherman, Stuart Sleper, Dr. Ried Boom, and Sarah Taylor — worked to raise matching funds, inform community members about the initiative, and organize events. Since forming, the team has added new volunteers who will build on the founders’ momentum: Sarah Maurer, Julie Woods, Julie Smith, Vicky Wessels, Cathy Werner, Steve Werner, Jodi Muller, Deb Peyton, Deb Weigel, Nicole Riley, Denise Parmley.

The first grants from the endowment provided downtown floral hanging baskets this past summer and now have created the Holly Jolly Market (pictured above and below). The market is designed to bring energy to Manchester’s downtown by filling vacant storefronts with over 25 artisans and vendors. It will be open Fridays noon to 6 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sundays noon to 4 p.m., November 17 thru December 17. It also will be open the evening of the Manchester Window Walk, December 7.

In addition to making the Holly Jolly Market possible, the Manchester Vitality Endowment is donating a living spruce tree to be planted near the Whitewater Park. During the December 7 Window Walk and Static Parade, the community will host its first annual tree lighting at 7:30 p.m.

“Our Gathering Tree signifies the roots of our community,” says endowment team member Diane Hammell. “As our traditions grow, so do our families, memories and the vibrancy of our small town, along with the Endowment Fund.

“Most committees tend to lose members over time; this one attracts members! We are enjoying the cohesiveness and having fun too!”

If you are interested in joining the team or contributing to the Manchester Vitality Endowment projects, contact

“This is not the end for this campaign, but simply an initial goal met,” says Foundation Executive Director Amanda Diers, who advises donors and leaders throughout Delaware County. “People in Manchester will always be able to share annual gifts, memorials and legacy gifts knowing the funds are invested wisely and returned to the town they love.”

The Small-town Dreams Initiative is facilitated by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, of which the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County is an affiliate. The initiative is made possible thanks to an anonymous donor who grew up in a small town in Northeast Iowa and wants to support rural vitality. Any self-determined high-performing community in the seven counties served by Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Senior Affiliate Advisor MJ Smith manages the initiative.

To learn more, contact Amanda Diers or visit