Profiles of Impact: Bea Conrad's desire to meet the future needs of our community


What will our community look like 50 years from now? 

Beatrice (Bea) Conrad wondered the same thing about the future of the Quad Cities in the early 1960s. She was a local volunteer and leader of the Girl Scouts. She was also one of the founders of the Community Foundation in 1964. At that time, Lyndon Johnson was president, gas was 32 cents per gallon, and the average annual income was $6,900. Personal computers were still more than a decade away. Doctors and dentists kept their patient records on paper.

A lot has changed since then. And a lot will continue to change. 

Bea knew that her beloved Quad Cities would grow and change in the coming years. She also knew that a Community Foundation’s strength lies in its ability to be flexible and respond to changing community needs. So she did something to make a difference for the future.

When Bea passed away in 1966, she left part of her estate to the Community Impact Endowment. Over time, with gifts of all sizes from more than 100 donors, this Fund has exceeded $11 million. Since 1967, the Community Foundation has granted from this fund to area nonprofits to meet the priority needs of the community. From its first grant of $2,000, the generous donors to the Community Impact Endowment continue to make a difference in the lives of others. 

The combined power of their generosity means that the Community Foundation can make grants that transform our Quad Cities region. Each year, at least one Transformation Grant of $100,000 supports an innovative effort that changes the way the Quad Cities approaches the challenges we face. One such effort was the Quad Cities Housing Cluster’s rapid re-housing services.

This partnership of six agencies created this new approach to ensure that people and families escape homelessness quickly, or receive help with their housing crisis so that they never face that devastation in the first place. The Born Learning Initiative also benefited from a Transformation Grant that helped parents become their children’s first and best teachers. Not only did the grant directly serve those families, it brought more support to the table by challenging new young professionals to give to and get involved with that effort.

The Community Impact Endowment allows caring individuals to make a gift for the future – to provide for needs that we cannot predict today. Think of our community as one of your heirs. Your gift, when combined with Bea’s gift, and the gifts of neighbors and friends, will build an unending resource to meet the ever-changing needs of our community. As another Community Foundation founder, John Nagle, proudly said, “Now, more than ever, the possibilities are endless.”

Click here to learn more about the additional grants funded by the Community Impact Endowment.

Melanie JonesDonors