Rural Resilience Facebook Series Highlights Community-Building During Pandemic

Jason Neises 
Community Development Coordinator 

For immediate release 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many activities people look forward in their daily lives to be put on hold. In Bellevue, Iowa, though, residents Angie Read, Paulette Wagner and Lori Roling have worked to keep residents of the tight-knit community connected in this era of social distancing. 

Their Facebook group, Bellevue Helping Hands, has helped keep people informed about everything from birthday card-making drives to charitable giving opportunities.  

Read, Wagner and Roling recently shared how their work is making an impact as guests on the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s new Facebook Live series, “Rural Resilience.” During each segment, Jason Neises, the Foundation’s community development coordinator, interviews a different small-town leader volunteering time to strengthen their community during a time when people are self-isolating. 

“In small, rural communities, residents are used to stepping up and helping their neighbors during tough times,” Neises says. “This is a way to celebrate the unsung heroes who go above and beyond to keep their communities strong and vibrant — even when things seem dire.” 

Neises is building on his work leading the Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul® initiative, which helps residents of small towns in the Dubuque region plan for their futures by identifying their communities’ strengths. It was developed nationally by the Orton Family Foundation and implemented locally by the Community Foundation. 

A new segment will stream live via the Community Foundation’s Facebook page ( every week and also be archived for later viewing. The Community Foundation shares details about times and topics via Facebook ( The guests Neises has lined up include:  

A designer in Elkader who created signs thanking workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Residents can purchase them, with proceeds going to local charity. 

A Cascade nursing home worker who partners with the neighboring day care center on projects and activities that brighten the days of the children and seniors. 

Neises also is on the lookout for other potential interviewees, with a focus on people doing creative and innovative things to build community during the pandemic. To share an idea, email

“Rural communities are essential to the overall strength of the Dubuque region, and helping people in these small towns thrive is at the core of the Community Foundation’s work,” Neises says. “We hope that sharing these stories inspires others to get involved and make a difference in their communities.” 

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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.  

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