Taking action for a strong future in Clayton County


By Emily Sadewasser, Foundation Coordinator

What if there was a way for you to strengthen your community forever?

In our rural communities, the population may be small – but the generosity is large. Every day, we help one another in our neighborhoods, our churches, our kitchens, and on Main Street. Now, we can channel these small-town values into a fund that will make a difference for generations to come.  

Your charitable plans might include your family, your church or your favorite nonprofit. By giving to the Clayton County Foundation for the Future, you can also include a gift to support your community’s future. The Foundation is uniquely positioned to improve quality of life for everyone who lives here through grantmaking, collaborating with local leaders, and building endowment funds. 

Our community’s long-term well-being is at the heart of our work. Our family of endowment funds are invested permanently, and the earnings provide annual funding for organizations to make a positive impact. We depend on these funds to make grants that address pressing needs and important opportunities in our community — even as they change over time.

The Foundation’s own endowment addresses the most urgent local needs. From supporting youth to city park improvements, our grantmaking impacts quality of life in every community in Clayton County. Still, there are unmet needs. Gifts from community members like you strengthen our ability to build a self-determined, high performing, and ultimately more vibrant and prosperous county.

Our Foundation supports similar efforts in individual communities that have shown readiness for building their own local endowments. The Smalltown Dreams Initiative provides a $100,000 matching incentive through an anonymous donor to help rural Eastern Iowa towns grow endowment funds that improve quality of life through annual, local grantmaking. In Edgewood, Garnavillo and Guttenberg, the Foundation of Cornerstone Communities (FCC) captured that match to address community health and wellness today, 10 years from now, and generations down the road.  

“Through FCC, I hope to fund projects that make my hometown a healthier and more vibrant community. This will enable recruitment and retention of professionals necessary to maintain our excellent healthcare services, education system and businesses for years to come,” says Kathy Lansing, FCC committee member. “I want to do what I can to make my small town the best it can be for everyone.”

Since World War II, Americans have created, invested and multiplied unprecedented private wealth. Much of this wealth is currently invested in family homes and farms, retirement accounts, and other appreciated assets. In Clayton County, $2.5 billion is expected to transfer from one generation to the next through probate estates in the next 30 years. Most will go to heirs (and taxes), but you can preserve a portion as your legacy for the community’s future. We’re here to help you create that legacy, both for your family and for your community. 

Retaining a small percentage of the transfer of wealth for philanthropy is a historic opportunity for strengthening Clayton County. If just 5% of that expected transfer is invested in an endowment, $5.3 million (figuring a 4.25% payout) could be available annually for projects that strengthen our communities. Designating just 5% of your estate to the Clayton County Foundation for the Future is a simple way to help the small-town values you live every day last forever. 

By working with our expert team to plan your charitable giving to the Foundation, you can help ensure a strong future for our county. Contact us today to learn how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community.