Ryan leaders making small-town dreams come true
Leaders building a new community endowment reach $450,000 fundraising goal
Leaders in the town of Ryan celebrated their strong future last week announcing they have completed the Small-town Dreams Initiative challenge grant.
Completing the fundraising challenge means that the Ryan Community Endowment has reached $450,000. The fund, held by the Foundation for the Future of Delaware County, is invested and will grow forever, providing annual grants to support the most important projects and programs in the community of 351 residents.
“Our vision for the Ryan Community Endowment is to have annual funds available to immediately give energy to the best and brightest ideas for Ryan,” says Tom McDonald, the campaign team’s convener.
“The support from our community has been just amazing,” adds Marcia Voelker, the team’s recorder. “We had support from every corner of our community, young and old, city residents and grain producers, as well as organizations like a 4-H Club that stepped up to help us reach our goal.”
Team member Elizabeth Feldmann coordinated marketing for the group in order to reach former residents from faraway places who still had a place for Ryan in their heart. Lorraine Gaffney managed a community letter campaign that brought new donors into the endowment effort. Other leaders who educated citizens and helped with events included Jason Stepanek, Lucas Leonard, Justin Wegner and Dan Reiss, and the late Bruce Quint.
“We were able to make six initial grants totaling over $17,000 this past summer through this initiative,” says Jeff Zumbach, treasurer for the team. “We celebrated with 50 residents and grantees, and I think our townspeople could really see and feel the impact of this annual fund. We gained momentum announcing awards for the Fire Department, American Legion, Peace Lutheran, St. Patrick’s gym, Ryan Ballpark and Ryan Memorial.”
“This is not the end for this campaign,” says Foundation Executive Director Amanda Diers, who advises donors and leaders throughout Delaware County. “People in Ryan 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.