The small things matter


Sometimes major improvements to an organization can be in the form of something as little as books and art supplies. That was the case for the Little Home Learning Center in Lowden, Iowa, after it received a grant from the Community Foundation of Cedar County.

The foundation has been a Geographic Affiliate Fund of the Quad Cities Community Foundation since 2005.

The Community Foundation of Cedar County was originally set up to distribute the state's county endowment dollars but has grown to include private endowments and yearly grant distributions. Cedar County has distributed almost $1 million during the past decade.

Little Home Learning Center works with children ages six weeks to school age, provides daycare from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and an after-school program as well. "The $1,000 grant from Cedar County provided much-needed educational materials in the infant room," said Melissa Kessler, director of Little Home.

Items they purchased with the grant money included sensory items for the infant room, books and art supplies for the toddler room, book shelves for the preschool room, educational materials and health and fitness items for the school-age group. They are simple items, Kessler said, but they make a big difference in the type of instruction and activities the center can offer each day. The impact has been significant.

"It really helped improve our center," she said. "It helped improve the rooms our kids are in and the interactions they have each day."

This is not the first time the center has received funding from Cedar County, and the relationship has changed how they are able to serve the community. "Having a partnership with the Community Foundation is very beneficial," Kessler said. "If it wasn't for them, we would not have been able to improve the growth of our little ones that we serve."