McDonough grants support education initiatives


Four grants from the McDonough Foundation will support education initiatives hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and its rural affiliates.

“The McDonough family is helping improve learning outcomes for students across the region,” says Kelly Krause, Ed.D., Education Officer at the Community Foundation. “We are so grateful for their continued support of learning and reading initiatives.” 

The first grant supports the launch of a rural teacher corps as part of an effort to attract new teachers to the Foundation’s seven-county region while also supporting current teachers and administrators. Grant funding will be used to host a series of convenings for teachers and provide mini-grants for classrooms. The first convening attracted 75 participants to Camp Courageous last month, where the content focused on social and emotional learning, diffusing difficult situations, and teaching while dealing with trauma. 

Data shows rural school districts face high turnover rates, requiring time and money to hire new educators. With low numbers of applicants and high attrition rates, there is a concern we are creating school systems that are lacking equity and resilience in our rural communities,” says Krause, who is leading these efforts on behalf of the Foundation. “One way to address these concerns is to offer networking and professional development through a corps model so that teachers, especially for those new to the field or on the cusp of leaving, feel valued and empowered.”

Early literacy efforts in Clayton, Jackson and Jones Counties also received grants from the McDonough Foundation. 

In Clayton County, the grant will support a local chapter of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails high quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth to age 5 on a monthly basis — at no cost to families. The goal is to increase access to books and develop an early love of reading. There are currently more than 400 children enrolled in the program. 

In Jackson County, the grant was awarded to the local Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to help fund Summer Adventure, a program shared among seven elementary schools designed to prevent learning loss that can occur when students are not stimulated or enriched over summer break. The partnership allows each school to target its struggling readers, especially those in kindergarten through third grade. 

The Jones County grant supported a similar summer learning program hosted by Every Child Reads – Jones County. Schools selected 15 to 20 students per grade, and those students have been invited to participate in the program for three consecutive summers. Educators track reading scores during that time to measure the effectiveness of the program.

“The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and its eight rural affiliate foundations work to understand our region’s greatest challenges and build partnerships to find solutions that work,” says Krause. “Support from the McDonough Foundation and the many generous individuals and families across the region is essential in making our work possible.”

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