Quad Citizens rise to the challenge to help donate more than $90,000 in endowment for local nonprofits in three days

An additional $75,000 matched by Quad Cities Community Foundation to strengthen the community’s nonprofit organizations

It was done in record time. The Quad Cities Community Foundation challenged the community to give $1,000.55 or more to one of more than 100 Nonprofit Endowment Funds held at the Community Foundation. The challenge was part of the Community Foundation’s celebration of 55 years of generosity in the region.

The community responded by donating more than $90,000 in just three days—far surpassing the challenge’s goal, and quicker than expected. A total of $75,000 from the Community Foundation’s Community Impact Fund was used to match the gifts dollar for dollar.

“We are amazed, but not surprised by this outpouring of support to build stronger endowments for our local nonprofits,” said Community Foundation President and CEO Sherry Ristau. “They do incredible work day in and day out for this community and we are thrilled to recognize and support that work. The people of the Quad Cities are incredibly generous, and we are honored that they chose to positively impact so many nonprofits through this challenge grant opportunity at the Quad Cities Community Foundation.”

More than 20 organizations benefitted from more than $90,000 in endowment gifts from nearly 50 individual donors in response to the challenge, which centered on building endowment—reliable, flexible funding for nonprofits that they will have forever. The organizations that received gifts included:

  • Ballet Quad Cities

  • Center for Active Seniors

  • Figge Art Museum

  • First Presbyterian Church, Milan

  • Friends of the Davenport Public Library

  • Gateway Redevelopment Group

  • Genesis Health Services Foundation – Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House

  • Genesius Guild

  • Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities

  • Hand in Hand

  • Humility Homes and Services

  • Iowa Legal Aid (HELP Regional Office)

  • Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center

  • Nahant Marsh

  • Oakdale Memorial Gardens

  • Putnam Museum

  • River Bend Foodbank

  • St. Anthony Catholic Church, Davenport

  • United Way of the QCA

  • Vera French Foundation

  • Vera French Housing Corporation

“We build endowments for our community, by our community, at the Community Foundation. The dollars donated to our Nonprofit Endowment Funds will not only help support nonprofits in special projects and programing throughout the year, but truly help them lay a steady, permanent foundation that will help them continue long into the future,” Ristau said. “Endowments are incredibly important to the lifeline of any nonprofit—and certainly to transforming our Quad Cities community.”

River Bend Foodbank donors participated in the challenge. Mike Miller, CEO of the food bank, said the overall success of the challenge, particularly how quickly it was completed, is indicative of several things. “It speaks to the generosity of the community, to the long-term view of the donors who recognize the opportunity to give a gift of longstanding effect, and it speaks to the reputation of the Quad Cities Community Foundation. People can trust that when they make a gift there, it will serve its purpose forever.”

Joedy Cook, founder and CEO of Ballet Quad Cities, said they were eager to participate because they are a relatively new arts organization and new to endowment building. “We had no idea if we would have donors who would respond to this opportunity,” she said. “And when they did, it was a wonderful surprise.”

She credits much of their support to faithful community members and board members who contributed and rallied support for the challenge. “My board really stepped up to the plate for this challenge,” she said. “They have given to something that will support our work forever.”

The nonprofit world would be a very different place without the Quad Cities Community Foundation, she added. “The Community Foundation is so creative and encouraging,” she said. “I’m so impressed with how they take care of their donors and the nonprofits they support through all of their grant programs. They have so much goodwill and they really care about how we’re doing. It’s very special.”  

Marty Kurtz, of Davenport, has supported Ballet Quad Cities before and knew he wanted to be involved when he received a letter about the Community Foundation challenge. He supports several local organizations and understands the need for each of them to build endowment. “In this day and age, there’s so much struggle just to make it work, to make sure you have the cash flow to serve your mission,” he said.

We have to take care of these organizations for our society—to build a culture of philanthropy in the Quad Cities that will sustain these organizations, and our community, in the long run.
— Mary Kurtz, Donor

The Quad Cities Community Foundation is the home for hundreds of endowment funds—started by individuals and organizations—that support the Quad Cities region today, and far into the future. Endowments create a financial foundation for nonprofits, allowing organizations to earn interest that they can use to offset annual operating expenses.

The Community Impact Fund at the Quad Cities Community Foundation, which made the matching dollars possible, is also an endowment started by—and grown through donations from—community members. The endowment allows the Quad Cities Community Foundation the flexibility to respond to the most pressing needs and promising opportunities in the community, as they arise and vary from year to year.  

To learn more, or to find out how to give to the Community Impact Fund or any fund at the Community Foundation, click here.

Ted Stephens IIIDonors, Grant