Andrew Blessing gets the best of both worlds.
As a Program Associate at the Community Foundation, he is in the unique position of working one-on-one with both donors and grant recipients. Seeing both sides up close—generosity and opportunity—has been one of the best aspects of the job, said Blessing, who has lived in the Quad Cities for more than 15 years. Individuals and organizations are always grateful when they receive news of support.
"They are over the moon when they receive a grant," he said. "They're always incredibly grateful to know there are people who support their efforts to transform our region."
To watch the organizations utilize the funds is an upside too, he added. "It's very rewarding to see organizations flourish with these funds," he said.
Besides delivering the good news, Blessings also provides technical assistance to organizations applying for grants through the Community Foundation's online grant application system. Blessing is available to answer questions about how to apply and when, and assist if there are login problems.
When it comes to working with donors, it is exciting to watch them walk through the process of deciding who and what to support. "It is nice to see what they're passionate about and what they hope to make possible through their philanthropy," he said.
Before starting his work at the Community Foundation, Blessing worked at the Putnam Museum for three years, most recently as the accounting assistant and database administrator. He is a 2011 graduate of the University of Iowa with degrees in History and American Studies. The job at the Community Foundation was a great fit, he said, and has given him new insights into his own community.
There's a great amount of need, but it is met by incredible generosity. "It is eye-opening to see the number of small organizations in our community—groups that are doing incredible work," he said.
At the Putnam, Blessing experienced the challenges of the competitive grant process from the side of a nonprofit. "So coming to the grantor side, I have an idea of how important these grants are and that these organizations do need it to flourish," he said.
Blessing said he is looking toward the future with optimism, especially because the Community Foundation has made a commitment to be even more present in the community. "We're working toward being more involved," he said. "It's a goal that can be reached and I'd like to be as involved in that as I can, whether it's in the office or out in the community."
It lines up with the Community Foundation's mission, he said. "If we're out in the community, people will see the good that is being done and they might want to make an impact too and partner with us," he said. "When people partner with us, their generosity can be sustained for years and years."
Blessing said he is pleased to be working for an organization that has the right mission—transformation. "It has a big impact now, the way our donors touch so many," he said. "We want to become a true leader for the region."
Learn how you can transform the lives of thousands of people in our region. Contact a member of our Development Team at 563/326-2840 to learn more.