Powerful conversations to transform the region

This year, we have been able to share stories of transformation—stories of philanthropists like Amy Helpenstell and W.D. Petersen, or Grant and Virginia Brissman and the Potter Family, who through their legacies are changing the way we look at giving, and working together. In the New Year, we’ll double our efforts to celebrate those who have come before us—as well as people like you who, today, are making a difference in the region.

As I look back on 2015, I am energized by the powerful conversations we have had sitting at the table with leaders and philanthropists from around the region to talk about how we can come together for the greater good of the Quad Cities. We have been inspired by our donors, our staff, our board and our community.

In particular, I am continually grateful for a knowledgeable, capable, mission-minded staff that invest daily in the work of this organization—people who give tirelessly and with great passion. Our board of directors, under the leadership of Pete Wessels, have made big decisions on how we can move toward 2016 with great energy, and I look forward to their guidance as we collaborate on new ways to look at how we do this work.

You see, our strength as a Community Foundation is only as reliable as the people who work here, and without their voices, we would not be able to provide responsible expertise and innovative ideas to our donors that help them discover how they can best make an impact in their communities.

Certainly, this year has been capped off with our effort to move Rock Island and Scott County residents out of poverty and homelessness by providing resources to existing programs operating in the region through the just-announced Leadership Grants. The grants are supported by more than 100 donors who have made unrestricted gifts totaling more than $11 million. That means there are a lot of great minds, generous community members and knowledgeable individuals committed to our future—and it reignites our vision to draw them together to transform the way our community operates and the way we help one another in times of need.

Here, funding is never arbitrarily given to programs. We are intentional to support programs and ideas that will be the most effective, and draw from the expertise and resources of donors, leaders and volunteers from all sectors of our community to inform those decisions. These new Leadership Grants demonstrate that when we put our minds, and resources together, we can come up with meaningful solutions.

We are in a season of giving, but my hope is that this is also a time for renewal and that our commitment to help, connect and empower donors is sustained throughout the entire New Year.

I am grateful and honored to be in a position to see firsthand the abundance of generosity in our region, but there is still much work to be done in 2016.

I hope you share in our vision that we are in a position to do the greatest good when we look to the future together. I thank you for your belief in the power of this work. As this year of giving comes to a close with a spirit of gratitude, my hope is that next year we can and will do even greater things together.