The Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund at the Quad Cities Community Foundation announces half a million dollars in grants

Youth and their families in the Quad Cities will receive more affordable mental health services thanks to the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund (TAHFF) at the Quad Cities Community Foundation. The Vera French Community Mental Health Center is one of 49 local programs to receive a total of more than $500,000 in funding this year. Nearly $100,000 in additional funds will be awarded through renewable grants in 2018, 

Vera French currently operates a school-based mental health services program with 14 therapists serving in 17 schools. A two-year, $30,000 grant through TAHFF will provide funding in North Scott, Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley schools for families who cannot afford services.

“This will help us respond to children who are under-insured or not insured,” said Jessica Malcheff, executive director. “The school counselors and teachers refer students who need the service to the therapists.”

Because the therapists are in the school building, students feel safe. “We’ve seen over the years, since the 1990s, that students have a high rate of improvement,” Malcheff said. “It’s in an environment where they are comfortable.”

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

Helpenstell passed away at age 33 from complications due to an eating disorder. She underwent a long and courageous battle with the disease, which began in high school. “Amy’s passion for the community has truly been manifest through these grants,” said Kelly Thompson, vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives at the Community Foundation. “Our community honors her memory through the good work that is happening through this funding.”

Stephanie Acri, a member of the volunteer advisory committee that selected recipients, said one of the things she appreciates about the foundation fund is that it recognizes that it takes a sustained effort for nonprofits to achieve their goals. “We award grants to outstanding nonprofits that are digging into the work not just for an immediate change, but for long-term impact.”

Malcheff said the health center has received support from TAHFF since 2006 and they are grateful for the continued partnership. “Our community has really been looking at collaboration and partnership lately and we think it’s really important,” she said. “No nonprofit can provide everything. To have the Amy Helpenstell Foundation Fund recognize that this work is happening is really good.”

The following organizations received funding for 2017. An * denotes a renewable grant in 2018:

  • Aldridge Early Learning Center—$1,000

  • Augustana College—$6,000

  • Bethany for Children & Families—$10,000

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley—$10,000

  • Black Hawk College Adult Education Program—$7,500*

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

  • Broadway Presbyterian Church—$5,000

  • Cafe on Vine—$10,000

  • Catholic Charities/Diocese of Davenport—$10,000

  • Child Abuse Council—$20,000*

  • Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities—$10,000

  • Christian Care—$15,000

  • Churches United of the Quad City Area—$15,000

  • Family Resources—$10,000

  • Genesius Guild Theatre Foundation—$4,000

  • Gilda's Club Quad Cities—$5,000

  • Hand In Hand—$8,000

  • Henry County Youth Services Bureau—$12,000

  • Hope at the BRICK House, Inc.—$10,000

  • Humility of Mary Housing, Inc.—$18,000

  • Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc.—$15,000

  • Lead(h)er—$5,000

  • Marriage and Family Counseling Service—$5,000

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Inc. (Metropolitan Youth Program)—$20,000

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Inc. (K.I.N.G. Program)—$20,000

  • Nahant Marsh Education Center—$5,000*

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Mississippi Valley—$10,000*

  • New Kingdom Trailriders—$5,000

  • Project Renewal—$14,000

  • QC Closet2Closet—$7,500*

  • Quad City Arts—$5,000

  • Quad City Botanical Center—$5,000*

  • Quad City Symphony Orchestra—$7,500

  • Rebuilding Together Quad Cities—$20,000*

  • River Bend Foodbank—$20,000

  • Robert Young Center (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Programs)—$8,100

  • Robert Young Center (Amy’s Gift: Quad Cities Eating Disorders Consortium)—$44,000

  • Rock Island County Extension & 4-H Education Foundation—$5,000

  • School Health LINK Inc.—$10,000

  • Spring Forward Learning Center—$12,000

  • St. Joseph the Worker House Association—$5,000

  • Supplemental Emergency Assistance Program—$10,000

  • Transitions Mental Health Services—$5,000

  • Two Rivers YMCA—$10,000

  • Vera French Foundation—$15,000*

  • WVIK Quad Cities NPR—$10,000

  • Youth Service Bureau of Rock Island County—$10,000

  • YWCA of the Quad Cities (The place2b)—$8,000*

  • YWCA of the Quad Cities (Preschool and Child Care)—$15,000