Reinvesting in Rural Communities

Thanks to a generous supporter, a new challenge grant program is helping small, rural towns plan for their futures.

More than 200,000 people call the seven-county Dubuque region home, and many of them live in communities of fewer than 2,000 residents. These small towns are key to creating a strong, interconnected region of high-performing, self-determined communities.

With generous funding from a supporter who grew up in one of these towns, we have created a tool for residents of rural communities to invest in their future. Our Small-town Dreams Initiative is an innovative way to address unanticipated needs and enhance the quality of life for future generations.

Small-town Dreams Communities

Throughout our seven-county region, five communities stepped up to the challenge and five more will join them this year.


Through the initiative, we pose a challenge: Participating towns can receive $100,000 to start an endowment for the community by raising matching amounts locally. By the end of the campaign, each community will have built a $450,000 endowment that will grow in perpetuity and pay out $25,000 a year for grantmaking.

These grants can jumpstart solutions to the challenges of the day. Right now, five participating towns are addressing issues like child care availability and outdoor recreation.

“This is a such a win for our community,” says Kathy Lansing, a Guttenberg resident guiding one of the campaigns. “We are addressing future challenges today. Small-town Dreams builds resilience for these rural places we love to call home.”

This story is part of our 2021 Annual Report.

Learn more about our Small-town Dreams Initiative

Here for you. MJ Smith Senior Affiliate Advisor 563-588-2700