Volunteer Leader: Julie Dunn

Board Member, River Bluff Community Foundation

  • Education: M.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa; B.S. from University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Business and Communication.
  • Career: Executive Director, MercyOne Clinton Foundation
  • Board member since: 2019


Tell us about yourself! 

When I first moved to Iowa from Wisconsin 36 years ago, I had every intention to move back to Wisconsin some day! Within the first few weeks of moving to Clinton, I met the man who would become my husband. Mike is a CPA and farmer. Together we raised three wonderful (now grown) kids and are blessed with two son-in-laws and a daughter-in-law, and two beautiful grandsons!

I’m a member of Rotary and co-chaired the 2022 Rotary Boo Bash, which raised $38,000 in 2022 for Rotary projects. I am president of the United Way Board of Directors for 2023-2024. I have also served as a board member for the Chamber of Commerce and Information and Referral Assistance Service. 

Through the years, I have seen Clinton grow and change. We have a lot of great things here, including strong, dedicated nonprofits serving community needs. The Clinton area has the kindest, most generous people, who give from their hearts their time, talents and gifts. We have a vibrant community because of the people who dedicate their time and resources to make things happen. That is the best part of our community. 


When and why did you start serving on the Foundation board? 

I have always been aware of the good work that the River Bluff Community Foundation was doing in Clinton and Camanche. Community foundations can leverage the power of endowments to benefit the entire community and that concept resonated with me. Alma Mariano did a great job leading the foundation for years and when she left, there was an opening on the board. I joined because I wanted to learn more about the community foundation and lend my skills to continue the momentum of the foundation. 

What inspires you to keep serving? Today, we are led by Alethea Cahoy and with her leadership, we have energy, enthusiasm and a vision for the Foundation. We were fortunate that those who came before us saw the importance of endowing funds and took the steps to establish the Foundation. Today, with a portfolio of more than $1 million, we have a board that oversees the River Bluff Community Foundation Impact grants and is working to build and grow endowments to have even more impact in our community today and for the future. It’s exciting to be part of something that works for the greater good and benefits the entire community.  


What has been the most memorable grant project or initiative the Foundation has supported since you’ve been a member? 

I was part of the team who standardized the grant application process with grants now being offered once a year. It’s nice to see that several nonprofit organizations now can apply for the available funding every year. They have a variety of ideas on how to improve our community and being able to help them, even with a small grant, is impactful. The Foundation board loves to help establish new projects that are designed to help fill a need in our community. We have given seed money to help start a lunch program, funds to replace trees damaged in the derecho, helped acquire equipment to promote speed awareness in Camanche and assisted with cleaning up graffiti. Beside our grants, I’m inspired when we can continue to help nonprofits build their endowments for future projects and provide a funding source that will be welcome in the years to come!