Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation announces over $580,000 in grants to local nonprofits in 2016


Forty-five area nonprofit programs were awarded $581,450 on October 12 during the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund’s grant reception at the iWireless Center in Moline.

The Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund, a fund of the Quad Cities Community Foundation, carries out the legacy of Ms. Helpenstell and her passion for youth development, health, community development, cultural activities and education. Since 2005, the fund has directed over $6 million to nonprofit organizations in the Quad Cities area, where Ms. Helpenstell lived, worked, and volunteered.

Ms. Helpenstell passed away at age 33 on February 1, 2003, from complications due to an eating disorder. She underwent a long and courageous battle with the disease, which began in high school.

“Through Amy’s foundation fund, we focus attention on Amy’s vibrant life and her passion for her community,” said Kelly Thompson, Director of Programs for the Community Foundation. “The thousands of people helped each year by these grants honor her memory.”

Amber and Amy Haskill, co-founders of nonprofit organization QC Closet2Closet, see the connection. These sophomores at Rock Island High School were adopted six years ago, along with their four siblings, by Alli and Dan Haskill. While in foster care, they regularly lost their belongings when they moved from home to home. Knowing that other children and teens face the same challenge, the family started QC Closet2Closet to provide gently-used, current-style clothing to foster and homeless children ages 10-18.

“We are honored this year to receive a grant from the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund,” said Amy Haskill. “Amber and I are inspired by Ms. Helpenstell’s story because like us, she was a student and athlete at Rock Island High School. Also like us, she loved her community and wanted to work to make it better.

Bud Helpenstell, Amy Helpenstell’s father and Past Chair of the committee, welcomed the 75 attendees at the reception. Karen Evers, Chair of the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund committee, presented the grants to the following organizations.

  • Aldridge Early Learning Center; $1,000

  • Augustana College; $10,000

  • Bethany for Children & Families; $10,000

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley; $15,000

  • Black Hawk College Adult Education Program; $15,000

  • Black Hawk College Foundation; $4,500

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley; $15,000

  • Child Abuse Council; $12,000

  • Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities; $15,000

  • Christian Care; $15,000

  • Churches United of the QCA; $15,000

  • Family Resources; $10,000

  • Genesius Guild Theatre Foundation; $4,000

  • Gilda's Club Quad Cities; $8,000

  • Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities; $7,500

  • Hand In Hand; $6,000

  • Henry County Youth Services Bureau; $10,000

  • Humility of Mary Housing; $18,000

  • Humility of Mary Shelter; $15,000

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center - Youth Programs; $20,000

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center - Metropolitan Youth Program; $15,000

  • Nahant Marsh Education Center; $10,000

  • New Kingdom Trailriders; $5,000

  • Project Renewal; $14,000

  • Quad City Arts; $7,500

  • Quad City Botanical Center; $8,000

  • QC Closet2Closet; $1,500

  • Quad City Symphony Orchestra; $7,500

  • Rebuilding Together Quad Cities; $20,000

  • River Bend Foodbank; $15,000

  • Robert Young Center: Amy's Gift; $47,000

  • Rock Island County Extension & 4-H Education Foundation; $2,500

  • School Health LINK; $15,000

  • Spring Forward Learning Center; $12,000

  • St. Joseph the Worker House; $10,000

  • Supplemental Emergency Assistance Program; $10,000

  • The Center for Youth and Family Solutions; $5,000

  • Thomas Merton House – Café on Vine; $10,000

  • Transitions Mental Health Services; $5,000

  • Two Rivers YMCA; $10,000

  • Vera French Foundation-Rick’s House of Hope; $10,000

  • WVIK Quad Cities NPR; $10,000

  • Youth Service Bureau of Rock Island County; $15,000

  • YWCA of the QC – Preschool & Child Care Programs; $15,000

  • YWCA of the QC – the Place2B; $15,000

Several organizations also received transition grants earlier in the year totaling $60,450, as the Fund switched from two grant cycles per year to one. 

Photo above: Amber Haskill, Bud Helpenstell, and Amy Haskill. Amber and Amy Haskill co-founded QC Closet2Closet with their family to provide gently-used, current-style clothing to foster and homeless children ages 10-18. The organization accepted a grant from the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund at the Quad Cities Community Foundation.