Confused about the Community Foundation?

How many of you have a vague awareness of an “organization” that gives out money to nonprofits…and what is it called anyway? The Community River Bend, River Bend Bank, or does it have something to do with the transit buses we see driving around the QC?

I’m here to help answer your questions.

Our nonprofit organization is the Quad Cities Community Foundation While you may tend to think of a nonprofit as something tangible, (i.e. warm meals on a cold night, an after school program at the gym, transitional housing units, etc.) – we don’t physically serve the meals, educate the children after school, or maintain housing units. And for you business-minded individuals, we are not an actual “banking” institution. Yes, many of those components are part of what we do, however; we are linked to these organizations by the charitable gifts from donors and grant money distributed to support ongoing nonprofit missions. So, when you put it simply, we are financial "helpers" assisting nonprofits with their tangible work by providing funding through grants made possible by caring donors.

Here’s a sampling of how grant money from the Community Foundation assists local nonprofit organizations as they support our community:

  • Convection ovens at local shelters serving our community’s homeless residents.

  • Training and therapy equipment for children at a local therapy center.

  • Meals for volunteers participating in a neighborhood housing rebuild.

  • Musical instrument repair for donated instruments to be loaned to students who can’t afford them.

  • Summer camp for children with disabilities.

And the list goes on…

But most importantly, we provide a way for charitable hearts to support their favorite nonprofits today, tomorrow, and years from now.

The Community Foundation's focus: connecting people who care with causes that matter.

So, I told you who we are, but maybe you’re wondering why you need to know? Well, let me explain…

In 2012, the Community Foundation granted money to 746 different nonprofit organizations in our area. SEVEN HUNDRED and FORTY SIX! That’s a lot! Think about it…746 nonprofit organizations and causes supporting the quality of life in the Quad Cities and surrounding regions! It’s no wonder we have such a great community to live, work, play, and raise a family!

So there you go….how many of you are surprised that we even have 746 nonprofits in our community? I certainly was when I read the grant report!

Since we aren’t a bank, are you still a little unclear about where that grant money comes from?

Well, it comes from donors. People like you and me…couples, individuals, families, corporations, loved ones who have left their savings to charity, and many more. Each of our donors are unique, but that’s what allows us to help so many different nonprofit organizations. Some of our donors prefer that their money be granted back to support local arts and culture. For example: Figge Art Museum, Quad City Arts, Rock Island Art Guild, Niabi Zoological Society, Colonel Davenport Historical Foundation, Family Museum of Arts and Science, and many more. Other donors prefer that their money be granted back to whatever nonprofit organization has the greatest need at the time. These are considered “unrestricted” donor gifts and are part of our Community Impact Endowment – and anyone can give a gift to this charitable fund. A panel of Community Foundation volunteers regularly review nonprofit grant applications to determine which nonprofit organizations are in most need of the Community Impact Endowment dollars at a given time.

Starting to get the hang of how the money goes in and out? 
Good. So now we can break it down even more.

In 2012, the Community Foundation gave out 1,448 Core MissionImpact, and donor-advised grants to support our local nonprofits’ missions in our community. The math shows us that’s an average of almost 2 grants this year per each of the 746 nonprofits! Of course, not all nonprofits received 2 grants, and some received more than 2…but moral of the story…it’s not a one-and-done type of grantmaking process here at the Community Foundation. We are here to support our local nonprofits throughout their various mission-related work projects.

Tired of talking numbers? Hold on for just one more….all you “get-to-the-point” folks have been waiting for this, and I’ve made you sweat it out until the end!

So how much money was given to our local nonprofits with those 1,448 grants?

Drum roll please…

$4,622,583 granted to local nonprofits in our community in 2012!

So now you know…the Community Foundation works to “connect people who care with causes that matter,” and we do it to the tune of $4.6 million!

Thanks for reading and visiting our blog! I hope this helped you learn a little more about “that place that gives out all that money!” If you are interested in supporting the Community Impact Endowment or starting an Endowment of your own, visit our website and explore! You can also stop by our office (we are behind Schnuck’s and next to THE National Bank) or call us at 563-326-2840, we’d love to hear from you!

Ready to apply for a nonprofit grant? Visit our website to learn about Core Mission grants, Impact grants, and other grant opportunities.

And of course, this is only a portion of the work we do at the Community Foundation. We have 13 affiliate community foundations in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, student scholarships, collaboration support, youth philanthropy and much more!

Melanie Jones