Ryan, population 300, raises $225,000


It’s been a summer of celebration in the Ryan community: A campaign to raise $450,000 toward a permanent endowment that will help address local needs for years to come recently reached a milestone. Thanks to gifts from community leaders and the support of an anonymous advocate for rural communities, over $225,000 has been raised for the Ryan Community Endowment.

“Support has been strong when we meet with community members and talk about the need for this fund," said Tom McDonald, a local volunteer who is helping lead the campaign. “We know the endowment will be a permanent legacy for this hometown we all love.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque has launched the Small-town Dreams Initiative in 10 communities across its seven-county affiliate region, which includes Delaware County. In partnership with an anonymous donor, who has served as a generous advocate for rural vitality, the initiative provides a cash match both for endowment-building and immediate local grantmaking. 

After meeting the first goal, the fund supported grants to six organizations:

  • Ryan Ball Park Improvement — $5,000
  • Ryan Fire Department — $4,550 
  • St. Patrick Gym — $4,550 
  • Peace Lutheran WELCA basement carpet — $1,550
  • Ryan Legion Veterans Post 692 handicap bathroom — $1,000
  • Ryan Veteran’s Memorial (City of Ryan) — $1,000

“We envision that annual payouts will foster park improvements, assist with community capital projects, and support needs for kids so families can thrive,” says Lorraine Gaffney, a campaign leadership team member. The team will announce grant applications and awards each year.

Ryan was approved for the initiative in 2021 after demonstrating local readiness. The campaign has been led by team members Tom McDonald, Ken Ries, Marcia Voelker, Jeff Zumbach, Justin Wenger, Lorraine Gaffney, Elizabeth Feldmann, Jason Stepanek and the late Bruce Quint.

In the second and final phase of the initiative, the community is challenged to reach its $450,000 fundraising goal for the endowment. When the goal is reached, $20,000 will be available annually for grants to organizations serving the needs of Ryan. As the fund grows over time from investments and new gifts, so will the payout , providing a sustainable source of income to meet emerging community needs. 

“I am involved because I know this annual cash payout will be a great help to project planners and also leverage local, regional, state and federal grants for Ryan to continue to do great things,” says team member Jeff Zumbach.

Make your gift to the Ryan Community Endowment now, or contact any of the leadership team members to learn more. Gifts can be made with cash, check or credit card. Complex gifts like grain, appreciated stock, life insurance, real estate and individual retirement account charitable rollovers can also be accepted. Gifts of $50 or more may be eligible for the 25% Endow Iowa State Tax Credit. 

“The Community Foundation is here to inspire giving and build a stronger Ryan,” says MJ Smith, senior affiliate advisor for the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, who oversees the Small-Town Dreams Initiative. “We are so excited for Ryan, one of the seventy communities we serve, to capture these matching dollars for an amazing future.”