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Celebration Highlights Efforts to Impact Community On Wednesday, November 14, over 200 people gathered at the African American Museum of Iowa for the sixth annual Celebration of Community. The event theme was Good People + Good Ideas = Community Impact. Donors, community volunteers and nonprofits came together to hear stories of the many people and organizations who are working to effect change in the Cedar Rapids area. The program featured seven stories of efforts to build and impact community. These initiatives ranged from a man commissioning an original piece of chamber music for his wife, to lawyers looking to interrupt cycles of youth violence. “That building process begins with good people,” said Les Garner, President and CEO of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “We are lucky that we live with many good people in this place. They continually take good ideas and put them to work for the benefit of their neighbors. They foster understanding and a sense of joint ownership of the place we call home.” 2 COMMUNITY
Celebration of Community recognized those efforts to build connections, and the event itself served as a means for connecting. Nonprofit leaders and staff had the chance to talk with community members about their projects, programs and visions. “It’s important for us to take notice of the efforts being made by local nonprofits and their volunteers,” said Brent Cobb, Chair of the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Community engagement is necessary for nonprofits to fulfill their missions. This event is a great way to encourage and celebrate that engagement.” Two nonprofit excellence awards were presented to nonprofit professionals who have gone above and beyond to support the mission of their organizations. Along with the award, each recipient’s organization received $1,000 from the Community Foundation for staff development.
Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award The Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Award recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of the chief executive officer of a Linn County nonprofit organization who offers exceptional leadership and creates a lasting impact on their organization and the community.
Brian Stutzman (Posthumously) Executive Director, YPN Brian Stutzman started working at YPN in 1997 as a rural service provider. In 2000, he was promoted to Executive Director and maintained this role until his unexpected passing in July 2018. Brian often led collaborative efforts both within his organization and in the larger community. Friends, colleagues and peers describe him as a man who wanted all nonprofits to succeed, and who worked selflessly to achieve that vision through his positive influence. Brian was an open and honest communicator who spoke his mind and eagerly shared his knowledge. Brian’s work in the community was always guided by a genuine passion for collaboration. When the idea of the Sister Mary Lawrence Community Center emerged several years ago, Brian suggested that the nonprofit tenants mount a joint capital campaign. He understood that the groups were stronger together and that there was no need to compete. The center is now home to six nonprofit organizations. When Brian identified a community need, he worked tirelessly to meet it. Brian was tremendously effective in his role at YPN, building a team that is proudly carrying on his legacy through a number of high-impact community endeavors. His humility, humor and warm heart endeared him to innumerable colleagues over the years, and it is a testament to Brian’s character that over two dozen local nonprofit leaders came together to nominate him for this award.
Minnie Rubek Staff Excellence Award The Minnie Rubek Staff Excellence Award recognizes a nonprofit staff member who has quietly gone “above and beyond” in their support of the organization’s mission and has greatly enhanced the overall effectiveness of the organization through their work.
Erin K. Kurt, Vice President of District Operations, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa For the last 13 years, Erin K. Kurt has been instrumental in furthering the mission of Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa. Erin started at JAEI as an Education Director and now leads the development, education and IT departments. She is responsible for all regional processes, program quality standards and operational procedures. The past program year was particularly demanding of Erin, as JAEI saw double digit student growth while undergoing technology and database transitions. Erin’s role often allows her to collaborate with administrators, teachers, community volunteers, classroom mentors and JAEI board members. Through Erin’s leadership, JAEI has established high-performing benchmarks for volunteer retention, classroom participation and number of students served. Due to these high standards and a quality programming model, Erin is often asked to serve on national task forces and committees. As a member of Junior Achievement’s Program Advisory Committee, Erin recently helped to develop and improve JA programs for the entire country. Colleagues commend Erin’s capacity to assist others without the expectation of reciprocity and describe her as a team player who leads by example. Erin’s work ethic, positive attitude and unwavering integrity are highly respected in her organization and community. WINTER 2018 3
To view more photos of the event visit our Facebook page.
Welcome Dylan Cooley, Content Associate Dylan Cooley has joined the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation team as Content Associate. He began his new role on October 17, 2018. In this position, Dylan is the primary writer and editor at the Community Foundation, serving on the marketing and grant teams.
New Fund Aims to Create Safe, Equitable and Thriving Community In October 2018, the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and the Cedar Rapids Community School District announced a partnership with the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation to establish a fund to address inter-relational factors that lead to youth violence in Cedar Rapids. The fund will make grants in pursuit of the recommendations made by the Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Task Force. Karla Twedt-Ball, the Community Foundation’s Senior Vice President of Programs and Community Investment, shares what brought this partnership about, what role the Community Foundation will play, and what all of this means for Cedar Rapids.
How will it work?
Contributions designated by the City, County and School District, along with any donations from the community, will go into a new fund at the Community Foundation called the Creating Safe, Equitable & Thriving Communities Fund. We will provide facilitation of two committees – one to establish process and desired outcomes and one to review grant applications and make funding recommendations. Because our current Program Officers are at capacity at the Community Foundation, we’re adding a part-time Program Officer to manage the process and implement the grantmaking from this fund. Karla Twedt-Ball Senior Vice President of Programs and Community Investment
What are the goals of the task force?
The task force was formed to address systemic causes of youth violence in the Cedar Rapids area. The group investigated the current state of our community and explored solutions to youth violence. They conducted interviews with youth and other community members, consulted experts, reviewed data and developed recommendations. The goal is to move this community toward a safer, more equitable and thriving society.
What recommendations did they make?
The report includes recommendations that target improved economic opportunity, educational success, safe and affordable housing, supportive law enforcement practices and improved access to youth programming and other health and human services. These all need to be reinforced by improved relationships and intercultural competencies throughout our community.
How did the Community Foundation get involved?
Earlier this year the task force asked the Community Foundation to help facilitate a competitive grantmaking process focused on accomplishing the identified goals. Because we are a funder with extensive grantmaking experience, we have the aptitude and know-how to administer the funding. It makes sense that we’re involved.
What will the grant application process look like?
We will have one primary funding cycle per year for a minimum of three years, and we may also accept more targeted applications to address specific circumstances. We will grant at least $160,000 each year to nonprofits and other eligible applicants. We hope to offer some grants targeting summer programming in the spring of 2019, with the primary grant cycle to occur in the fall.
What kinds of programs and projects are eligible to apply for grants from this fund?
Exact criteria are still being decided on, but the goal of all grantmaking from this fund will be to make our community safe, equitable and thriving. We hope to receive applications for programs and projects that work to eliminate the root causes of youth violence in our community.
How can community members get involved in this effort?
If you haven’t already, I would suggest reading the Task Force recommendations report located on the City of Cedar Rapids website to learn, be knowledgeable and be willing to have authentic conversations about the issues that face our community. I would also suggest volunteering and being involved with nonprofit organizations that are providing important services. You can also donate to this Fund so we can support organizations that are addressing our community’s needs.
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“It’s great to feel welcome and to be invited to be a part of a community. I hope to become a United States citizen because it will give me more opportunities to be involved.” – Gloire Kakuru, Catholic Charities’ client
Gloire Kakuru and Yer Vang
Navigating the Naturalization Process with the Help of Catholic Charities A Program Fund grant supported Catholic Charities’ affordable, professional legal services for immigrants who would otherwise not be able to afford these services. Immigration attorneys work individually with clients to help stabilize their immigration situations and help determine, for example, if they are eligible to apply for work authorization, and permanent residency or citizenship so that they can become economically vibrant members of the community. Immigration attorneys provide free consultation services to immigrants by appointment in the Catholic Charities’ Cedar Rapids office so that they understand their rights and the legal immigration options available to them.
refugees seeking services from the agency. Today, he is a student at the University of Iowa and hopes to pursue a career that will allow him to give back to the community.
Gloire Kakuru, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, became a client of Catholic Charities recently. After leaving his home nation, Gloire spent six years in a refugee camp with his mother and three siblings. He was able to learn English there, and his family was eventually settled in Michigan. In seeking out a closer-knit community, his family moved to Cedar Rapids. Initially, Gloire connected with Catholic Charities as an Americorp RefugeeRISE member. He worked as an advocate and translator for
Gloire sought out the help of Catholic Charities specifically because he knew they did good work and wanted to formalize his place in American society. He knows that becoming a U.S. citizen will offer him opportunities he would not otherwise have. He’s grateful to be in the United States and is eager to give back to his community in the future.
Gloire is currently pursuing citizenship with the help of Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services. Yer Vang, Director of Immigration Legal Services, explains that naturalization is a time- and cost-intensive process, which means many people need assistance. Additionally, because of recent immigration law changes, submitting the application incorrectly could result in deportation. “A lot can go wrong without proper legal counsel,” she explains.
Continuing Efforts to Endow Nonprofits Continuing its efforts to sustain nonprofits in the area, the Community Foundation recently awarded the Endowment Challenge Grant to Clothe-A-Child, Inc. The organization, which provides new clothing to children in need, will receive up to $25,000 in matching funds as support in establishing an endowment. An endowment provides an organization with general operating support, stability during cyclical variances in income, and financial support for areas of high importance to the organization. As such, it is an investment in the organizations mission and future. The Community Foundation holds over 100 Agency Endowment Funds for local nonprofit organizations, and gifts to these funds are eligible to receive the Endow Iowa tax credit. For a list of organizations with endowments at the Community Foundation, and for information on how to contribute to these funds, visit www.gcrcf.org.
Nonprofit Know-How: Media Relations
National Standards Reaccreditation
On October 9, nonprofit professionals gathered at the Cedar Rapids Public Library for a Nonprofit Know-How learning event about media relations. Melissa McCarville, Communications Manager at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, led a conversation with Zack Kucharski, Editor at The Gazette, to give area nonprofits helpful tips on working with the media. These trainings are designed to be fast, free and focused professional development opportunities for local nonprofit staff.
In October the Community Foundation received reaccreditation by the National Standards for US Community Foundationsâ„˘. The accreditation process provides quality assurance by verifying that foundations maintain legal, ethical and effective practices. The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation became accredited in 2005 when the program began, and has maintained accreditation since. For more information on the accreditation process and standards, visit cfstandards.org.
Matching Funds Support Linn County Classroom Projects For the fourth year, the Community Foundation distributed $25,000 from its Fund for Educational Excellence by offering a 1:1 match for donations to public school teacher projects in Linn County on DonorsChoose.org. The match became available on August 1 and was exhausted in early November. This effort resulted in $50,000 in funding to 102 projects in 38 schools, reaching over 7,200 students! For more information on how you can support education, visit gcrcf.org. WINTER 2018 7
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UPCOMING EVENTS FEB
Quarterly Investment Update
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February Grant Deadline
February 15, 2019, 4:30 p.m. CST Visit gcrcf.org for information about available grants and how to apply.
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