Small and large donations make big difference in Louisa County

If there’s something the residents of Louisa County are learning from their local Community Foundation, it’s that even small donations matter. The Community Foundation of Louisa County was established in 2005 as a source for the county’s charitable giving and community needs. The foundation is a geographic affiliate fund of the Quad Cities Community Foundation.

Ken Purdy served 12 years on the advisory board, most recently as chair. He retired from the board earlier this summer because of term limits and said the work has been gratifying. “It’s a way to funnel money back to the community,” he said, of the endowments at the foundation. “It’s a conduit for doing good forever.”

One of the foundation’s most recent endowment campaigns drew the entire community together to honor and reflect on the work of former high school band director Harold Cross. Cross, who led the high school’s award-winning marching band for 31 years, enjoyed a community-wide celebration last month. The city also named a street after him.

As part of the effort, the Community Foundation set up the Hal Cross Wapello Music Endowment Fund and watched as more than $15,000 in donations poured in, many of them small. The funding will go to support the music program in Wapello schools. “We received a number of small donations from many in our community,” Purdy said. “It was an event that was well-received.”

Purdy believes that the community pulled together so quickly because they not only wanted to honor Cross, but they saw an opportunity to invest in the arts, education and the next generation. “It’s helping the arts,” he said. “And, anytime you can help build an endowment fund, it affects the quality of life in your area forever.”

The Community Foundation also played a part in the establishment of an endowment and grant for the construction and maintenance of a 25,000-pound a monument in Toolesboro, honoring six Iowa brothers who died in the Civil War.

Contributing to meaningful events, organizations and projects in the community is what the Community Foundation is all about, Purdy said. “It’s very fulfilling to know where the money is going,” he said. “That the dollars are benefiting the community forever.”

But the Community Foundation still has plenty of work to do, Purdy said. They hope to continue to establish more permanent endowments. “We’re hoping to increase the number of endowment funds in the years ahead,” he said.

Their broader vision, is to continue to be the community’s philanthropic leader. “We want to reach out and be the connection between people who want to give and the causes they care about.”

To learn more about the Community Foundation of Louisa County, and all of the Quad Cities Community Foundation's geographic affiliate funds, click here