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Daisy Moran has been preparing all her life for her new role as one of the architects of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence under development by the Quad Cities Community Foundation and nonprofit leaders. The effort to create the new center was first launched in June to strengthen and grow the regional nonprofit sector’s already impressive impact. The community foundation cast a wide net when it went looking for a director to help create and ignite the center to support nonprofit collaboration and provide expanded resources to help advance nonprofits missions. That search found a homegrown leader in Ms. Moran. She’s the daughter of a single mother who immigrated to Moline from Mexico. She grew up participating in nonprofit organizations and became a trained and experienced nonprofit professional. Her background and experiences combined with her passion for nonprofits convinced community foundation leaders that Ms. Moran was the right choice for the job, Kelly Thompson, the foundation’s vice president of grantmaking and community initiatives, said. In addition, even before Ms. Moran took over as the center’s director in September she already was well familiar with the Quad Cities Community Foundation having volunteered for three years on the foundation’s scholarship committee. While there “she’s proven to be a great connector in the community,” Ms. Thompson told the QCBJ. “Any time she’s aware of a resource in the community, she wants to make sure people are aware of that as well and that it’s working as well as possible for the people that it should be working for,” she added. Ms. Moran said she was drawn to the job because she knows “the Quad Cities Community Foundation is a trusted resource” with a long history of serving the community. She also lauded its “phenomenal team of transformational leaders. I wanted to be a part of that.” That includes her mentor, Ms. Thompson. “I really wanted to be strategic in my developmental leadership and I knew Kelly would be a great champion for me,” she added. Then, there was the chance to help create an effective organization from the ground up. “As this is a new initiative it gives us the opportunity to really dream big and have big visions,” Ms. Moran said. “This opportunity is unique because it will not only strengthen the existing things that we have but also look for other innovative things that we can bring to the Quad Cities.” Expanding opportunities in the Quad Cities is important to Ms. Moran. She grew up in a household headed by her mother and grandmother, both of whom immigrated from Veracruz, Mexico. (Her stepfather also came to the U.S. from Mexico, and her family tries to get back to visit relatives in their hometowns when they can.) A young Daisy and her brother lived in a home in Moline that the family of four had obtained with the assistance of Project NOW and she attended Head Start preschool. It was those experiences and others, Ms. Moran said, that inspired her passion for making the language of nonprofits and nonprofit giving more accessible to all. Her current goal, she said, is to light a fire in others so that “they can turn that passion into a career; they can start their own organization with fiscal sponsorship through the Quad Cities Community Foundation.” It’s also why “when folks aren’t familiar with the word foundation or nonprofit or 501-3(c), I try to give examples of what these are and the ways that the Quad Cities Community Foundation has impacted spaces that they’ve interacted with,” she added. For example, when she visits Moline’s Mercado on Fifth she shares that the QC community foundation gave a transformative $100,000 grant to help create the outdoor marketplace’s new plaza. “I see the wheels start turning and it’s a great feeling,” she said. “Folks will say, ‘Oh, I see the connection now. I see how the Community Foundation impacts spaces I have gone to in ways that I didn’t realize,’ then saying, ‘How can I be a part of it?’” Also informing her work is a lifetime of experience with the power of nonprofits. “After graduating from University of Illinois I wanted to come back to the Quad Cities because I truly am a product of the nonprofit sector,” Ms. Moran told the QCBJ. “A lot of the extracurricular activities I attended were through nonprofit organizations such as the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, the YMCA and their programing as well,” she said. “So I wanted to give back to the community that had invested so much in me, so that’s how I entered into the nonprofit world.” That nonprofit career began as the Two Rivers Y’s director for youth achievement and community engagement where she expanded her knowledge of nonprofits at the local, national and global levels. “I really got to learn not only how nonprofits work in communities but also the larger scope of how we can be a collective force to have a greater good in society,” she said. From there, she served as the assistant director of Augustana College’s then-new Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity. “After my time there I saw this opportunity and I just couldn’t pass this up because at my core I’m really passionate about historically excluded communities and connecting them with resources they need,” she added. Leading the new Center for Nonprofit Excellence also is an opportunity to not only “expand my capacities and knowledge but also to learn more about the nonprofit sector in the Quad Cities and how we can be champions so hopefully we make it to a regional or national level where we are known in the U.S. as being one of the stronger nonprofit sectors in the country.”
Investment impacts resultsAccording to a 2022 survey of nonprofits who received Quad Cities Community Foundation Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants over the prior five years, here’s how capacity building projects impacted them:
- 91% of respondents said their project improved their organization’s ability to serve the community.
- 69% said their project raised their organizations’ visibility.
- 42% of respondents said their project improved their financial strength.
- $2,329,000 is the total amount of increased annual revenue all responding organizations reported from their projects.
- $655,000 is the total amount of decreased expenses they said they paid due to the project.
- 68.7% said their capacity building projects improved their organizational efficiency.
- 58.7% said their projects saved their staff or volunteers time; an average of 236 hours per year.
QC nonprofit sector by the numbers:
- 3,694 nonprofits in the Davenport area.
- 41,288 nonprofit employees, or 22% of Quad-Cities employed population.
- $5 billion total annual revenue of the nonprofit sector.
- $31 billion total assets in the nonprofit sector.
- 213 organizations have no employees and are entirely volunteer-run.
- 11 nonprofit organizations employ more than 1,000 people (ex: hospitals and colleges).