Quad Cities Community Foundation asks donors to help out nonprofits

Quad Cities Community Foundation student scholarships

After announcing a total of $150,000 in Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants for 10 organizations, the Quad-Cities Community Foundation has found a way to grow the program’s impact. It recently developed the Grant Opportunities Fund.

“At the Quad Cities Community Foundation, every grant cycle is a new opportunity to celebrate the abundance of talented nonprofits across our region and the generosity of donors who believe deeply in those nonprofits’ missions,” the organization said on its website. 

“Knowing the tremendous value capacity building funding brings to our community’s nonprofits, we couldn’t be more excited to make those grants. But we recognize that there are many worthy projects our grant budget simply didn’t allow us to fund. Now donors all across our community have the chance to step in and join together to help support those proposals through their own gift of support.”

Sue Hafkemeyer, the agency’s new CEO, also wrote in a recent newsletter: “The seeds of the Grant Opportunities Fund were planted before I joined the Community Foundation, but after six weeks of meeting with donors, community leaders, and as many Quad Citizens as possible, I can say that it beautifully embodies so much of what makes this organization special: our team’s ability to work seamlessly together, our willingness to take what’s already working and make it even better, our dedication to providing generous people with the information and connections they need to make an impact.”

Gifts of any size will make a difference, the foundation said. If an organization does not receive enough funding to complete its full capacity building project, it will use the gifts toward a portion of the project or related capacity building activities.

Below are brief descriptions of the projects that were not funded by the Community Foundation. Donors can give online or recommend grants from a Community Foundation donor-advised fund. All contributions will be collected in the Grant Opportunities Fund and granted to the selected organizations in August. The foundation urges participants to take advantage of this opportunity by Sunday, July 31. 

Eligible projects are:

  • ASWAS (A System Within A System): $20,000 – ASWAS is a new organization that seeks to equip and inspire men to be leaders and to connect them with young men as mentors. The organization recognizes the need for increased board training and education to build a solid foundation of leadership within the organization. This project provides funding for them to seek this training.
  • Ballet Quad Cities: $20,000 – Some think of ballet as formal and elitist, but Ballet Quad Cities’ performances do not fall into those categories; they are dynamic, vital, entertaining, and artistic. Our current brand does not fully articulate and promote these qualities as they deserve. This project will develop an updated brand that articulates what sets Ballet Quad Cities apart from other organizations and ballet companies, setting the stage for the future of the organization.
  • Freight House Farmers Market: $20,000 – Over the past two years, the Freight House implemented its Market2Go delivery system and streamlined the SNAP/EBT voucher program. Staff recognizes that they play a role in providing leadership and sustainable solutions for our community. They are seeking funding from the Farmer’s Market Promotion Program for the establishment of a regional Food Hub, but first need to address two necessary projects to accomplish that goal: conduct a strategic planning process with their network partners and acquire the technology and equipment necessary to accomplish the program objectives. 
  • Friendly House: $13,583 – A recent building assessment highlighted areas of brick and mortar location that require upgrades to be ADA compliant. As an organization that seeks to be known as inclusive, and in order to provide equitable access to opportunity, Friendly House is seeking funding for ADA compliant handrails and the installation of a weather alert horn.  
  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois: $19,234 – Camp Liberty in Scott County hosts summer camp for girls, an equestrian program and year round outdoor and camping opportunities. The reservation software being used for the property is not intuitive and troubleshooting issues takes staff time away from the other important work. This project allows scouts  the opportunity to upgrade that technology to be more intuitive, inclusive, and ultimately increasing revenue to support its programming.
  • Living Proof Exhibit: $7,016 – Living Proof Exhibit recently hired a new executive director who stepped up from the role of a program director. This project will allow the leader to complete a series of professional development, leadership, and fundraising classes. With these skills and networking opportunities, the executive director will increase the organization’s capacity by developing major gifts and annual fund programs and implementing the strategic goal to diversify funding sources. Long-term, this will make the organization more sustainable and reach more people who can benefit from the healing power of the arts.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center: $12,975 – This was partially funded by a Nonprofit Capacity Building Grant, however, there is still an opportunity to support enhancements to the professional quality of the center’s marketing and communication efforts, particularly around video production and photography to communicate the mission, programs, and impact. It also will improve its annual event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hiring professionals in these fields not only supports local businesses, but will provide footage and images for the center to use in their marketing and communication for the next several years.  
  • Mississippi Valley Blues Society: $20,000 – During the height of the pandemic, the society transitioned its educational tools and resources online. The organization saw requests for these resources from 37 states and four countries, indicating there is a demand for this kind of resource. This project allows Mississippi Valley Blues Society to improve its website so it not only has a wider reach, but can more deeply connect with young people by sharing stories through blues music that has shaped our history.
  • Moline Public Schools Foundation: $7,931 – The foundation is seeking to increase donations and event proceeds to better support teachers with classroom grants. In order to successfully communicate with and steward donors, dedicated technology and software is needed. This project supports the executive director by providing a work laptop (currently, a personal laptop is being used), software to support auction event and data management, and the time and expertise necessary to implement it. As the need for increased funding expands, this upgrade will support Moline Public Schools Foundation to better meet those needs. 
  • The Project  of the Quad Cities: $10,000 – “We can end the epidemic.” When The Project was founded, these five words would have been thought to be fiction. During early days, the few resources dedicated to the care of people living with HIV had nothing to do with living at all. The goal was to keep people as comfortable as possible as they faced the end of their lives. Now, the end of the epidemic is within reach and The Project needs to adapt its infrastructure to address the complex needs that lie ahead. This strategic planning project will be the first step in allowing The Project to change alongside those they serve and into the future.
  • Quad City Botanical Center: $18,730 – Currently, all labor at Quad City Botanical Center is done by hand. They are seeking to purchase a John Deere light duty tractor to allow them to expand, refresh and grow into their future. Adding this piece of equipment will allow staff and volunteers to be more efficient and the work less physically taxing, opening up the opportunity for the organization to more easily recruit staff and volunteers and refresh aging exhibits.
  • River Action: $20,000 – River Action is partnering with Augustana College, FEMA, QC Flood Resiliency Alliance and local communities to facilitate expansion in FEMA’s Community Rating System, which incentivizes communities to improve flood management by decreasing flood insurance rates for policyholders in that community. This project supports two students who will be selected for national training and local mentorship with the end goal of working with the communities to apply for FEMA’s Community Rating System and paving the way for those students to become Certified Floodplain Managers.
  • The Salvation Army: $15,300 – The Salvation Army relies on technology to provide services to clients seeking stable and affordable housing. As technology ages, time spent troubleshooting issues and waiting for repairs increases, keeping staff from the work of supporting their clients. Through the Shelter to Sustainability Project, staff are working more often in the community instead of in the main office, which limits access to communication between a client and staff they’re attempting to reach. This project seeks to upgrade aging technology and provide cell phones and portable equipment to staff working off-site and in the community.
  • Understanding Works NFP: $8,327 – A BOOK by ME has published more than 100 books on the Holocaust, human rights and heroes and shared them with libraries, school districts, and individuals. Educators have found them very valuable additions to their classrooms. Peer authors tell a story in a way that other kids understand. To continue to tell these important stories, technology upgrades are necessary. Aging devices and outdated website structure put a limit on what can be accomplished. This project seeks to update the Understanding Works website and purchase new computers for staff (they are currently using an outdated machine and an iPhone to edit documents). With improved technology, Understanding Works program, A BOOK by ME, will continue to expand its reach by connecting young authors with storytellers.

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