Our ‘Forever’ Is: A Connected and Vital Region

Alethea Cahoy didn’t grow up in Clinton, Iowa – she was raised over 1,200 miles away in the Pacific Northwest – but for 23 years, she has called the city home. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When I came to Clinton I fell in love with this community,” says Alethea, who settled in the city after graduating from college with a teaching degree. “There’s
just something about it. People are very sincere and friendly. They welcomed me into the community.”

Today, she is proud to raise her family in Clinton, a city of about 25,000 people that overlooks the Mississippi River 60 miles south of Dubuque. Her love for Clinton inspired her to join the River Bluff Community Foundation, one of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s eight affiliates, as its executive director, and lead the new Energize Clinton community development and fundraising campaign.

Energize Clinton is a two-phase initiative that empowers the community to achieve two goals: Identify what matters most to residents and build an endowment fund that will help enhance those positive qualities for generations to come. It’s a hybrid of Community Heart & Soul and the Small-town Dreams Initiative, two programs led by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.


Through the Heart & Soul process, Alethea and the Energize Clinton team connected with over 1,200 residents through surveys and meetings to understand what they care about. What emerged was a new narrative for Clinton.

“Previously, people’s feelings about their hometown fluctuated,” says Alethea: Either they took a negative attitude toward its trajectory or engaged in boosterism while ignoring real challenges. 

The Heart & Soul process, facilitated by Foundation staff, helped people connect over their shared passion for Clinton while also identifying concrete areas for investment, including downtown and neighborhood revitalization and brain health resources.

The six “values statements” that emerged from the Heart & Soul process will become the guiding principles for the Small-town Dreams phase. Clinton is one of 11 towns across Eastern Iowa taking part in this initiative that empowers people to build strong futures for their communities. The goal is to leverage a $100,000 challenge grant and raise matching funds to eventually build a $450,000 endowment. This permanent funding source will grant out about $25,000 annually to support local organizations and projects that respond to the needs and opportunities of the day.

Equipped with homegrown ideas for strengthening the community and the funds to do so, leaders in Clinton will be prepared to ensure their city can remain a vital place to live, work and play forever.

“The campaign has really invigorated residents; they feel part of the process,” Alethea says. “At the end of the day, everyone loves the people here. They are our friends, our neighbors. It’s about feeling part of one giant family in Clinton.”

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Strengthen Your Community

Here for you. Amanda Diers Executive Director, Foundation for the Future of Delaware County ffdc@dbqfoundation.org 563-880-3816