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Community Foundation Sees Above Average Returns, Increasing Assets for Community Impact

January 30, 2020

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA) saw a 17.8 percent rate of return on its endowed assets in 2019, which is the highest return in the last 10 years. The 10-year average rate of return is 7.8 percent invested under professional advisement.

“The 2019 rate of return demonstrates the potential power of endowment building,” said Liz Kurtt, vice president of finance and operations at the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. “Investment fund allocations are set to balance risk and return with an interest in long-term average returns that exceed spending and inflation, but certainly years like this stand out and show that growth potential. A higher return means more dollars are being put back into local communities for good.”

Endowed funds are generally created by a nonprofit organization or a community-minded individual to benefit the community now and forever. Endowments created by a nonprofit through the Community Foundation provide a permanent source of funding, making it easier to sustain their work and provide greater financial stability to respond to emergency needs. Donors who endow their gift can begin to see the impact of their gift during their lifetime while knowing they will leave a legacy forever through grantmaking made possible by the return on their investment.

As the host foundation for a 20-county region in Iowa, CFNEIA provides oversight of 23 affiliate Community Foundation’s funds in addition to Black Hawk County through its investment oversight committee and partnership with Marquette Associates, an independent investment consulting firm. A three-point investment approach is emphasized and is focused on risk, quality and cost. CFNEIA is confirmed in compliance with national standards for U.S. community foundations, which includes the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability.

Endowments do not need to be in the millions to be impactful and can be set up in alignment with a donor’s charitable wishes. Gifts to endowment funds with a qualified community foundation are eligible for a 25% state tax credit on the total value of the gift through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program, in addition to regular tax benefits. More information about Endow Iowa can be found at

Endowment funds can be established through the Community Foundation by contacting Niki Litzel, development director with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, at 319-243-1352 or

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